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What is 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the number utilized in North America to report an emergency. Although it is in wide use, it is not universal. Rural areas may still utilize seven digit numbers for the police department, fire department, and ambulance services.

When should you use 9-1-1?

Nine-one-one (9-1-1) is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 9-1-1. It is better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

When not to call 9-1-1

  • For information
  • For directory assistance
  • For paying traffic tickets
  • For your lost pet
  • As a prank

If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency.