Dial 911 for Emergencies

What Is 911?

You can use 911 for many kinds of emergencies; it's the quickest, easiest way to reach:

  • Police Department.
  • Fire Department.
  • Ambulance Service.

911 saves time because it is easy to remember and fast to dial; 911 is designed for a quick response and seconds can make all the difference in an emergency.

How Does 911 Work?

When you dial 911, a specially trained Dispatcher will answer your call. They will ask for information including the following:

  • Name.
  • Phone Number.
  • Your location and the nature of the emergency.

They will then send the needed emergency personnel or transfer your call to the appropriate service. Some areas offer "Enhanced" 911 Service. This system automatically lets the Dispatcher know where the call is coming from (the caller should always verify the information, if possible). This allows the Dispatcher to quickly contact police, fire and ambulance services for the callers area.

Use 911 Only In Emergencies.

You should call 911 only to report:

  • Crimes - If you see a crime or are a victim of a crime.
  • Fires - Any fire is an emergency.
  • Possible Dangers to Life - Serious injuries or illness, poisoning, or gas leaks.
Don't Call 911 For Non-Emergencies.

Non-emergencies would include:

  • Lost pets.
  • Noisy neighbors.
  • Other minor complaints.

If you must talk to police or fire officers about non-emergencies, use the non-emergency number, (508) 869-2113


How To Make A 911 Call:
  1. Call from a Safe Place - Get away from sources of danger (fire, gas leak, etc.). Call from an area phone or use your cell phone.
  2. Stay Calm - Speak clearly and slowly, to make sure you get the help you need.
  3. Answer All Questions - Provide any information that the Dispatcher asks for. If you have a cell phone, be certain to give your location and call back number.
  4. Listen for Instructions - Do exactly as the Dispatcher says.
  5. Stay on the Line - Don't hang up until you're told to do so.

In most places, people with hearing disabilities can call 911 from TDD's (telecommunication devices for the deaf).

If dialing 911 from your cell phone, you will be asked what town you want to be connected to; the operator will subsequently connect you.

Teach Your Children How To Call 911

Make Sure They:
  1. Never make prank calls - Tell children that making fake 9-1-1 calls puts people's lives at risk. It's also against the law!
  2. Understand when to call - Explain which kinds of situations are emergencies and which are not.
  3. Know how to dial 9-1-1 - Don't program 9-1-1 on a speed dialing device. Instead, have children memorize the number. Then, have them practice dialing it with a disconnected or toy phone.
  4. Children should know their full name, address and phone number - Being able to give this information quickly can make all the difference in an emergency.
  5. Follow All Instructions - Teach children to stay on the line until told to hang up.

"Let 9-1-1 be your safety line. Understand the benefits of the 9-1-1 system in your community. Know when and how to call 9-1-1. Finally, teach children how to use the 9-1-1 system properly."