24/7 CDC call center: 800-232-4636.
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How and When to Call 9-1-1

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Only for Emergencies
Call 9-1-1 only for true emergencies, such as fires, vehicle accidents and medical emergencies. Do NOT call 9-1-1 for pet emergencies or for fun or as a joke. The consequences could be serious. Misuse of 9-1-1 is a first degree misdemeanor, but if your call results in more than $100 in services provided or if you misuse 9-1-1 four times, it's a third degree felony.

How to Dial 9-1-101--Call9-1-1
  • Press the "9" and then the "1" key twice, instead of looking for an "11" key that doesn't exist.
  • From a cell phone: don't wait for a dial tone, dial the number and press the green "send" or "call" button to place the call.
  • Cooperate with 9-1-1 dispatchers.
  • Dispatchers are the people who answer the phone when you call in with an emergency.
  • They are there to help. Provide them as much information as possible.
  • Remain calm.
  • Ensure children know they are allowed to give out their address and phone number to dispatchers. 
  • Answer all of the questions as best you can. Remember, while you give additional information, dispatchers have already sent emergency crews your way. 
  • Don't hang up until they tell you to. Firefighters, police and ambulances (rescue units) will respond to emergencies depending on the type.
  • Firefighters recommend you write down your name, phone number, address and basic directions to your house and leave it by the phone. In an emergency you may panic and forget even basic information.

Don't Get Confused02--Call9-1-1

  • Don't confuse 9-1-1 and 9/11.
  • "9/11" was the day of the tragic attack on America on September 11, 2001 and "9-1-1" is used to call for help in emergency situations.
  • Although the same numbers are used, they are not same thing.
  • Always pronounce the numbers correctly to reduce confusion: 9-1-1 (Nine-one-one) instead of 9/11 (Nine-eleven).

For more information about dispatchers, see the Communications page under the Operations tab or click here.