General 911 Information

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What is 911?

Nine-one-one is the number most people in the U.S. and some International countries call to get help in a police, fire or medical emergency. In some places, you may be able to be connected with Poison Control by calling 911, but you should check with local officials in your area to make sure. A 911 call goes over dedicated networks to the appropriate 911 answering point (PSAP) for the caller's location, and trained personnel then send the emergency help needed.


What is Enhanced 911?

Enhanced 911, or E911, is a system which routes an emergency call to the appropriate 911 answering point (PSAP) for the caller's location, AND automatically displays the caller's phone number and address. The 911 call taker will typically ask the caller to verify the information, which appears on his or her computer screen. In most areas, phone number and location information is available for 911 calls made from cellular/wireless phones.


Who pays for 911?

In most areas each house and business pays a small monthly fee for 911 services that appear on their phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 911. However, EMS/ambulance charge, not a 911 charge.


When should you use 911?

911 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 unsure if your situation is an emergency, dial 911. It's better to be safe and let the 911 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.


Do NOT call 911:

  • For information
  • For directory assistance
  • When you're bored and just want to talk
  • For paying traffic tickets
  • For your pet
  • As a prank
    • If you call 911 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn't an emergency.


How do I make a 911 call?

  • In an emergency, dial 911 on your phone. You can use any kind of phone.
  • Stay calm and state where and what your emergency is.
  • Speak loudly and clearly. Give the 911 call taker your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.
  • Answer the call taker's questions. Stay on the telephone if it's safe to do so, and don't hang up until the call taker tells you to.


What if something happens to me and I can't speak?

When you dial 911 from a traditional telephone, one that is wired into a house or other building, the location from which you are calling is displayed on a computer screen. If you are ill or being kept from talking by an intruder, leave the telephone off the hook. Any noise that we hear will help us determine the most appropriate response. 911 call takers are trained to answer emergency calls from persons who are deaf, deaf/blind, hard of hearing or speech impaired. If you cannot speak, either because of communication impairment, illness or crime in progress, texting to 911 is available in North Dakota for these circumstances.

What if a 911 caller doesn't speak English?

When necessary, a 911 call taker can add an interpreter from an outside service to the line. A non-English speaking call may hear a short conversation in English and some clicking sounds as the interpreter is added to the line.