How to Use 911

911 is a nationally recognized number that the public can call to request emergency assistance for police, fire, or medical emergencies. It is an easy number to remember during an emergency. Specially trained people known as Telecommunicators answer your 911 calls. They are trained to ask certain questions that are necessary in order to determine the nature of your emergency and the proper emergency service that is needed.

What Is and Is Not an Emergency?

An emergency can be any type of incident where injury to people or property may occur. Examples can be accidents with injuries, fires of any kind, medical emergencies, or any crime that is in progress. It is not an emergency when the situation is not dangerous, immediate action is not necessary, and it is not life-threatening. If you need assistance, do not hesitate to call the department's non-emergency line at (336) 229-3500. Examples can be a break-in that has occurred, but there is no suspect on the scene of a traffic accident without injuries. Do not call the police to report a power outage, inquire about school closings, or for information on scheduled public events.

What Information Do I Need to Give When I Call?

Always try to provide as much information as possible. Remember the "Who, What, When, and Where" rule. This rule will provide: who is calling, what is going on, when did it happen, and where did it happen.

This is the basic information the telecommunicator requires to provide timely assistance, however, always provide as much information as you possibly can. Remember, the telecommunicator is asking these questions so they can dispatch the proper number of police units to the right location and to ensure officer safety as well as yours. Do not hang up until instructed to do so by the telecommunicator.

Tips on How to Use 911 and Teaching Kids How to Use 911:

  • Keep your address and phone number posted near every phone in your house. It is very stressful during an emergency so it can be easy to forget your address. By posting this information, you, as well as visitors, can dial 911 and get help quickly.
  • Speak clearly and calmly at all times. Do not yell into the phone.
  • Listen closely to the questions and try to answer all of them. Something that might not seem important to you could be very important to officers
  • Make sure kids of all ages know how to use 911. Help your children learn their address and phone number at an early age.
  • Teach children to dial 911 only in an emergency. If 911 is dialed accidentally, please stay on the line and let the telecommunicator know that it was a mistake.
  • Teach children to call 911 if they feel they need help. Help them learn the difference between what is an emergency and what is not.