Reserve calling 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
In an Emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately from any phone.
An Emergency is any situation with immediate danger to life, limb, or property, or any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance.
Some examples include:
- Fire (Ex: House, Wildfire, and Vehicle)
- A crime, if it is in progress or has just occurred
- Motor Vehicle Accident, especially if someone is injured, or trapped
- A Reckless driver
- A medical emergency, such as: Someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention
Important: If you’re not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, call 911 and let the dispatcher determine the level of emergency response.
When you call 911, be prepared to answer the dispatcher’s questions, which may include:
- The location of the emergency, including the street address, or landmark
- The phone number you are calling from
- The nature of the emergency
- Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, vehicle description, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency
Remember, the dispatcher’s questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly. Questioning will not delay help coming to you!
Be prepared to follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you. The dispatcher can tell you exactly what to do to help in an emergency until help arrives, such as providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR.
Finally, do not hang up until the dispatcher instructs you to.
If you dial 911 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 911 when no emergency exists, do not hang up—that could make 911 dispatchers think that an emergency exists and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.
Remember, your call goes through to 911 as soon as the last number is dialed.
Even if you cannot speak...
After dialing, leave the phone hanging or make some sort of noise to let the dispatcher know there is an emergency. Your address will appear on their screen when calling from a 'land line' (a phone line, hard-wired at a business or residence), an open Cell phone can generally be located with GPS.
When to call the non-emergency number - (503)815-1911
A crime that is not occurring now
The neighbors are playing their music too loudly
Calls for police or fire information
General information requests
A dog is running loose or barking (Animal Control)
Dialing on a cellular phone
If inside of a vehicle, pull off to the side of the road.
Be aware that cellular calls may not always be routed to the nearest 9-1-1 center.
Tell the dispatcher your exact location, since cellular phones do not have address information.
Look for landmarks.
Stay on the phone until the call taker tells you to disconnect.
Dialing 911 from Internet Phone
VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol is still a fairly new technology, using internet rather than traditional phone lines. This type of phone may not be as reliable in an emergency, especially during a power outage in which they may not work at all.
VoIP calls may forward to the 911 center, but may not transmit any location or phone information.
VoIP calls forward to the nearest 911 center based on the address given to VoIP providers. If you move, be sure to update your address to prevent emergency services from responding to the incorrect location.
What to do before an emergency occurs:
Make sure your address is clearly visible on the outside of your house, and at the street access of your driveway so that emergency services can find it.
Teach your children about dialing 9-1-1.
Write your address out in large print and keep it near your phone. Even if you know your address perfectly, children, babysitters, or guests may not.
Keep the phone at an easy to reach level for kids
Keep cellular phones locked when not in use, as the '9' key or emergency button can be accidentally pressed and dial 911.