What is 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is the universal emergency telephone number designed to give citizens an easy-to-remember number to use when summoning police, fire, or emergency medical services for emergencies.
What is Enhanced 9-1-1?
Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) is a single, easy-to-remember number used when reporting emergencies to fire, police and emergency medical service providers. The E9-1-1 system, operational in the Cameron County 9-1-1 District, is designed to automatically route any 9-1-1 call, placed from a telephone instrument (including wireless) within the district’s geographical boundaries, to the proper public safety answering point (PSAP) responsible for dispatching emergency services to the caller.
How do I use 9-1-1?
When you have an emergency, dial the three-digit number and do the following:
- Stay calm and speak clearly.
- State the emergency.
- State the location of the emergency, your name and the phone number from which you are calling.
REMEMBER: Dial 9-1-1 when seconds count…
- It is easy to remember in moments of stress.
- It is quicker to dial than a seven-digit number.
- It is the number to use in summoning the police, fire, or emergency medical services.
- If you cannot speak, the telecommunicator can trace your call through the 9-1-1 system features.
When To Call 9-1-1
9-1-1 is reserved for emergency situations only. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It’s better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance. However, callers should still use sound judgment when trying to determine the difference between an “emergency” and a “non-emergency.”
A person should not call 9-1-1 to ask for directions, report a lost pet or complain about a noisy neighbor. People who call 9-1-1 as a joke or a nuisance can be subject to fines and legal action.
Do not call 9-1-1:
- For information
- For directory assistance
- When you’re bored and just want to talk
- For paying tickets
- For your pet
- As a prank
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency.
What about 9-1-1 prank calls?
It’s a prank call when someone calls 9-1-1 for a joke, or calls 9-1-1 and hangs up. Prank calls not only waste time and money, but can also be dangerous. If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. In most places, it’s against the law to make prank 9-1-1 calls.
Can I use 9-1-1 from a pay phone?
Yes, when the pay phone has a dial tone. Simply dial 9-1-1 and wait for a trained telecommunicator to answer your call.
Can the hearing and speech-impaired use 9-1-1?
Yes, in communities where 9-1-1 is available, a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) is connected to 9-1-1. Simply dial 9-1-1 and press the space bar for response.
Does a person need to speak English when calling 9-1-1?
No. It is common for 9-1-1 centers to have bilingual 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers; however if there is not one available, the 9-1-1 call taker can add on an interpreter through the use of a language line service, which offers translations in more than 140 languages.