Call 911: Useful tips for reporting an emergency

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Calling 911 is something everyone should know how to do correctly. Time is running out – and budget cuts and staff shortages mean the average emergency response time in cities like Seattle is nearly 20 minutes. The sooner you communicate your emergency correctly to the operator, the faster help can be sent. This guide will answer “What is 911?” And guides you through making an emergency phone call.

When did 911 start?

The three-digit phone number is a fairly recent addition. Great Britain created the first version as early as 1937. The United States did not introduce its own until decades later, when the first official call to 911 was made in early 1968. Developed by AT&T, the 911 a was chosen because it was easy to remember and could be dialed quickly on standard rotary phones of the day.

What are some ways you can call 911?

Today, calling 911 from a cell phone is the most common way to report an emergency. About 80% of calls are made from a cordless phone. However, 911 services continue to evolve with technology.

Can you text 911?

SMS service to 911 is available in some regions. The Federal Communications Commission has urged all emergency call centers to start accepting text messages. However, it is recommended that you call 911 instead of texting, as call centers believe that you can provide more information over the phone to an operator.

Can Alexa call 911?

Amazon Alexa cannot call 911 directly as there are regulatory compliance issues and additional fees required for it to work. Also, the GPS data needed to find you accurately is not available with Alexa. You can try to set up a routine for indirectly calling 911 from a cell phone by adding 911 to your contacts, but it’s probably easier to skip Alexa and reach for a phone.

Can Google Home call 911?

As with Alexa, Google Assistant can’t call 911. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do that in the future, but there are plenty of roadblocks that need to be addressed first.

Can Siri call 911?

Yes! Siri can call 911. You can also request several ways:

  • “Hey Siri, call 911.”
  • “Hey Siri, call an ambulance.”
  • “Hey Siri, call emergency services.”
  • “Hey Siri, dial 911.”

Can you call 911 without service?

Incredibly, you can call 911 without service even if you forgot to pay your phone bill or only have an old phone with no current plan. All cordless phones can call 911. The only problem is that if you are disconnected, the call center you were talking to has no way of calling you back. This is why it is important to spend time on the phone with the 911 count.

How to call 911

Follow these three steps to get help:

1. Dial 911 and take a deep breath.

Staying as calm as possible is essential. It’s easier said than done, but the operator on the other side of the call is trained to follow a certain procedure to gather the information they need and help you as quickly as possible. It can be maddening to be interrupted when you’re stressed out and trying to tell your story, but the best thing you can do is try to pull yourself together so that you can respond as clearly and calmly as possible.

2. Prepare the important facts

The dispatcher will need some details. The three most important points to provide right away are:

  • What is going on (is someone injured, for example)
  • What you need (police, fire department or ambulance)
  • Your location (address, side streets or main monuments or businesses)

Once you have given the basic information, the operator can ask for details regarding your location, type of injury, people involved or what else is going on. Let the operator help you. Listen carefully and respond with the most detailed, but brief answers.

Don’t panic if you are not quite sure about your location. If you are using a cell phone, 911 can probably follow you. However, any details you can provide can help with accuracy.

3. Stay on the phone

Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you it is safe to do so. In some cases, the dispatcher may even stay until help arrives.


Having to call 911 is seldom for pleasant circumstances. It is important to know how to make the call and to teach your children as well. It is also a good idea to teach children from an early age that 911 is for serious emergencies. alone and “pretend” calls are not OK. Emergency services take all 911 calls seriously, even if the person hangs up or the callers are just playing children. If so and you or your child accidentally dial 911, stay on the line and explain what happened before hanging up.

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