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9-1-1 is an emergency telephone number that provides expedient access to law enforcement, fire and rescue departments, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
9-1-1 should be used for emergencies only. An emergency is a crime in-progress and/or a life-threatening situation requiring the police, fire department or ambulance. If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency you should dial "9-1-1". The 9-1-1 call taker can determine if you need emergency assistance, or direct you to a non-emergency number.
Do not hang-up. Tell the 9-1-1 call taker that you called by accident. The 9-1-1 call taker will verify your address along with the telephone number you are calling from. If you hang-up, and a 9-1-1 call taker is unable to reach you, an unnecessary emergency response may be sent to check your welfare. If you use a cell phone, you can avoid accidental calls to 9-1-1 by locking your phone before you put it in your pocket or purse.
9-1-1 call taker computers are equipped with an Automatic Number Identification (ANI) / Automatic Location Identification (ALI) screen. Calls generated from a traditional landline phone will relay the callers telephone number along with the address the service is associated with. Most cell phone callers display latitude/longitude coordinates that a 9-1-1 call taker can view on a map to determine the location of the caller. The call taker will still ask you your address just to make sure it matches what is on the screen. The location of an emergency is critically important information that is used to get first responders to you quickly. The location can be a street address, cross streets, landmark, or a mile marker on a highway.
The 9-1-1 call taker asks a series of questions to better determine the severity of the situation and how to best assist you. Answering the call takers question does not delay the response.
9-1-1 is funded by a tariff of $1.35 that is applied to wireline and wireless telephone bills.