A Guide to Understanding 9-1-1
Who can call 9-1-1? Anyone in Oakland County can call the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency. Dialing 9-1-1 within Oakland County will immediately contact emergency aid agencies within Oakland County.
9-1-1 is for emergencies.
Only dial 9-1-1 if you have an emergency. An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate threat to human life or serious damage to property requiring police, fire department and/or paramedics.
When reporting an emergency:
- Remain calm and speak slowly.
- To effectively help you, the dispatcher will need to acquire certain information such as your name, location, contact number, what is happening, who is involved, whether anyone is injured, etc.
- Let the dispatcher ask the questions.
- Stay on the line for any additional information or procedures until the dispatcher instructs you to hang up.
How can I get a hold of the police or fire station in non-emergencies?
Use the department's seven-digit phone number plus area code in non-emergencies. This number can be found in a local phone directory.
When every second counts
In an emergency there may be no time to hesitate. By calling 9-1-1 immediately you may help save someone's life.
What is considered an emergency?
- Crimes in progress.
- Immediate life threatening situations (heart attack or other medical emergencies).
- Environmental hazards (hazardous material spill).
- Drug activity (overdose, poison).
- Traffic accidents with serious injuries.
- Severe food allergies.
- Additional incidents where you or someone else needs the help of police, fire or EMS.
Can I call from a....
- Business? Yes, you may need to dial an outside line such as a 9 or 8 before dialing 9-1-1.
- Home? Yes
- Cell Phone? Yes, however, dispatchers do not receive the phone number or address from where the call initiated. Make sure you know where you are and a contact number they can reach you at.
- VOIP (Internet)? Be aware of the type of 9-1-1 service you have by contacting your VOIP provider.
- Pay Phone? Yes, dialing 9-1-1 does not require any coins.
If you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake, DO NOT hang up the telephone. Instead wait on the line until you reach a dispatcher and explain that you accidentally dialed 9-1-1. If you hang up, the dispatcher will call back. If they cannot reach you, they will dispatch a police officer to confirm that you are OK.
- Do not dial 9-1-1 to see if it works.
- Do not call 9-1-1 for directory assistance or non-emergencies. Instead, use the seven digit (plus the area code) number.
- Do not call 9-1-1 as a prank.
- Do not hang up if you do not immediately hear a dial tone. Sometimes the network has a delay in obtaining a line. Be patient. Do not hang up if you reach a recording. Wait on the line for the next available operator.
- Do not hang up until the dispatcher instructs you to.
- Do not call 9-1-1 for a pet.
- Do not panic. If you talk too fast, the operator may have trouble understanding you.
- Do not program 9-1-1 into speed dialing. This can lead to you accidentally calling 9-1-1.
- Do not call 9-1-1 to report a crime that happened yesterday.