Calling for Help

None of us handle emergencies every day. In fact, even grown-ups aren't always sure what to do. You can save someone's life if you do two things: first, stay calm! Second, call 9-1-1 right away.

  • When you call 9-1-1, the operator will ask you if you need police, fire, or medical help. If you're not sure, just explain what's going on and the operator will take it from there.
  • If you can't remember 9-1-1, just dial "0" for the operator. If you're away from home and a pay phone is nearby, just pick up the handset and dial. An emergency call from a pay phone is free-you don't need any coins.
  • It's okay to tell the operator your name and your age. If you are calling from a home telephone, you don't need to know the address. The address will automatically show up on the operator's computer screen. If you're outside calling from a cell phone, the computer won't be able to tell exactly where you are. So, the operator might ask you if you can see any street signs or large buildings near by. They need that information so they know exactly where to send help.
  • Stay on the phone until the operator tells you it's okay to hang up. They will probably ask you questions while help is on the way. Speak loudly and clearly, and answer the questions the best you can.
  • If a fire breaks out at your home, leave immediately and go to a neighbor's house to call 9-1-1. Never call 9-1-1 from inside a burning building. Your safety comes first!
  • You should only call 9-1-1 for life and death emergencies-when you need help fast. Maybe you are seeing a crime in progress, or someone's very ill or was badly injured in an accident, or if there's a fire.
  • Sometimes when we make telephone calls, we dial the wrong number by mistake. If you dial 9-1-1 by mistake, wait until the operator answers and tell them you dialed the wrong number. If you dial 9-1-1 then hang up without talking to the operator, they will think something is wrong and will send a police officer or deputy to your home to see if you're okay. If you stay on the line and tell the operator you just dialed the wrong number, they'll be happy.