When should you call 911?

911 is only to be used in emergencies, potential emergencies, or when an emergency is imminent. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire, or rescue. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is there a danger to life or property?
  • Is there a serious medical emergency (chest pains, seizures, bleeding, etc.)?
  • Is there any type of fire (building, vehicle, brush, etc.)?
  • Is there any crime in-progress (robbery, burglary, prowler, fights, etc.)?
  • Are there any other life-threatening situations (traffic accident with injuries, stuck in high water, etc.)?
  • Is the caller or someone else the victim of a crime?


If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 911. It is better to be safe. Do not call 911 to do the following:

  • Report electricity or other utility outages.
  • Notify authorities of traffic jams.
  • Inquire about government services.
  • Learn general information.

Show All Answers

1. Can I text 911?
2. What is 911?
3. When should you call 911?
4. How can you help us?
5. Why do dispatchers ask so many questions?
6. Where do I call for non-emergency assistance?
7. What should I do if I call 911 by mistake?
8. What about 911 prank calls?
9. I speak a foreign language. Can the 911 center communicate with me during an emergency?
10. Can the 911 center communicate with the speech/hearing-impaired?
11. What if I am using a wireless phone?
12. What if I have an internet phone?
13. Can I call 911 from a pay phone?
14. How many calls does the center receive?