9-1-1 Calling Tips

When Calling
Attempt to stay calm when you are talking to 9-1-1 dispatchers. Take a deep breath. Dispatchers will verify your address and phone number. Listen to and answer each question. Do not hang up after dialing 9-1-1 until the dispatchers tell you to do so (even if you did not mean to dial 9-1-1).

When you report an emergency, the dispatcher will ask you at least six basic questions:
  • Where is this happening?
  • What is happening?
  • When did this happen?
  • Who is involved?
  • How can we help you?
  • What information do I need to give a good description?

In many 9-1-1 emergencies, dispatchers will ask you to describe the people and/or vehicles involved in the emergency.

When describing individuals, start at the top of the head and work your way down the individual's body.

Questions Dispatchers Will Ask

  • What is the presumed race and sex of the subject?
  • What was the presumed height and weight of the subject?
  • What is the presumed hair color?
  • What was the subject(s) wearing (Start from top of head and go down the body)?
  • Did the subject(s) have a moustache, beard, accent, limp, glasses, or anything unusual that might make the subject(s) stand out? Were weapons seen?
When describing a vehicle the dispatcher will ask for the following information:
  • Color of the vehicle
  • Year of the vehicle
  • Make of the vehicle
  • Body style (2 door/4 door, etc.)
  • Additional description (dents, lights out, direction of travel, etc.)
  • License plate on the vehicle