When should you call 9-1-1?

Calling 9-1-1 should only be done in the event of an emergency situation. Some examples include:

  • Life Threatening Emergencies
  • Fires
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Motor Vehicle Collisions
  • Hazardous Chemical Spills
  • Fire, Smoke, or Carbon Monoxide Detectors Sounding
  • Burglar Alarms
  • Smoke in a Building
  • Sparking Electrical Hazards
  • Crimes in Progress

What should you expect when you dial 9-1-1?

The dispatcher who answers will ask you a series of questions. The most important pieces of information the dispatcher will want to know are:

  • WHERE is the emergency?
  • WHAT is the emergency?
  • WHO is the calling?
    • Your NAME &  Your PHONE NUMBER

Based on the information your provide, the dispatcher may provide you with instructions on how to proceed. For instance, the dispatcher may provide you with directions on how to perform CPR if your call is about someone who is not breathing and doesn’t have a pulse.

Once you have completed any instructions given by the dispatcher, take the necessary steps to ensure the emergency responders are able to find you such as turning on outside lights or standing outside to direct emergency personnel to the correct location.

What happens if you call 9-1-1 from your cell phone?

Keep in mind, the quickest, best way to call 9-1-1 is from a traditional land line telephone which automatically directs your call to the appropriate dispatch center and provides the dispatch center with several vital pieces of information about your location.

In Massachusetts, your cell phone 9-1-1 call will be answered by the closest State Police Public Safety Answering Point. You will most likely have to provide your contact information and location in order for the State Police to transfer your call to the appropriate dispatch center for the emergency you are reporting. You should be prepared to repeat your information more than once if you are calling from a cell phone.