An EMERGENCY is any situation that threatens human life or property and demands attention immediately.

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When should I call 9-1-1?

Since 9-1-1 was introduced on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama, society has had a quick and easier way to get help. Today, 9-1-1 centers are the first point of contact in providing that help. But when should you call 9-1-1? What are good reasons and how do I find the non-emergency numbers when there are no listings available? Let's talk about that in a hope to help you understand the complexity of calling 9-1-1.

When you dial 9-1-1, keep in mind the person you will be talking to is attempting to help you right from the start. Please remain calm and answer any and all questions asked by your dispatcher. DO NOT HANG UP until the dispatcher tells you to! Staying on the phone does NOT prolong emergency response.

Questions we will ask when calling 9-1-1

  1. Most important, LOCATION! Verify that the dispatcher has the correct location before hanging up. Examples: House number and street, business, intersection, landmarks.
  2. What is going on or what is the problem?
  3. When did this happen or is it happening now?
  4. Who is involved and where are they at now?
  5. Are there any weapons involved?
  6. Is there anyone hurt or need an ambulance?
  7. Stay on the phone if safe until dispatcher tells you to hang up.

Good Reasons to call 9-1-1

Any threat of harm to personal safety or the safety of others.

Any criminal act that is in progress or just occurred.

Any situation which escalates from non-emergency to emergency.

Non-Emergency questions not appropriate for 9-1-1

Any request for numbers that you can't find. Try the operator, phone book or your local 311/411 center.

A request to see if police have picked up someone or if we have him/her in the jail.

Request for prices on reports or other information provided by other departments such as: Parking Control/Neighborhood Code/Animal Control/Weights & Measures.

Simple questions such as, why hasn't my trash been picked up on a holiday week, or there is a cat up in a tree.

If you have NON emergency questions or comments you can contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..