9-1-1 for kids

What is 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the number to call to get help in a police, fire or medical emergency. A 9-1-1 call is transmitted over dedicated phone lines to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) assigned to the city or town you are calling from. Trained call takers then send emergency help as needed.

When should I call 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is for people emergencies only. It should NEVER be use as a joke or prank. You should call 9-1-1 when there is a serious "people" emergency.

  • Call 9-1-1 when there is a REAL need for one of the following:
  • There is a crime and you need the POLICE
  • There is a fire and you need FIREFIGHTERS
  • Someone is seriously injured or unconscious and you need an AMBULANCE & EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE

How do I call 9-1-1

First, identify all the phones your family use and know if they are a landline phone or a wireless phone.

If an emergency occurs and you need help immediately follow these simple steps -

  • Stay calm
  • Make sure your know the exact location and address of the emergency
  • Pick up the receiver or turn on the phone and wait for the DIAL TONE
  • Dial or press "9", then"1" and then "1" again.
  • Wait for the ring and the 9-1-1 Dispatcher will answer

Landline phone:

  • Landline phones come in many different styles.
  • The one thing that they have in common is that they must be plugged into a phone jack to operate.
  • Most landline phones are push button, however older phones have dial pads.
  • In addition there are many portable phones which may look a lot like a wireless phone.

Wireless phone:

  • There are many different names and styles of wireless phones.
  • Some of the other names people use for a wireless phone is cellular, mobile, or car phone.
  • If there is a wireless phone used by your family, ask an adult to show you how to use the phone in case of an emergency.


What do I say to the 9-1-1 call taker?

  • Stay calm, speak clearly and be prepared to give as much information as possible regarding the emergency when the call taker asks you.
  • Listen carefully to the call takers questions and answer each question carefully.
  • Remember the call taker cannot see your hand or head gestures, signs or motions. So verbally answer all questions.
  • The call taker can only hear you, so answer all questions verbally.
  • Do not hang up until the call taker tells you it is OK to do so.
  • Follow the instructions of the call taker.
  • Remember remain calm and follow call takers instructions.