Information & Technology Services

Know How to use the Phone that You own when dialing 9-1-1

Before you need help in an emergency, be sure to under-stand how the type of phone you use affects your call to 9-1-1.


For All Phones

  • 9-1-1 is for emergencies or potential emergencies only. Use the non-emergency number for your local police or sheriff’s department for questions and non-emergency matters.
  • Post your address and phone number near each phone in your home. Visitors, baby-sitters and even family members may need to relay this information in a stressful situation.
  • Try to stay calm. Dial 9-1-1. Give the 9-1-1 calltaker the location of your emergency and your phone number Tell what type of help is needed (police, fire, ambulance). Stay on the line and answer calltaker’s questions. Don’t hang up until the call is complete.​​​​


  • Provide the 9-1-1calltaker with your exact location, phone number and address.
  • Work during electrical power outages.
  • Will not work during telephone outages.


  • Know the emergency calling features of your phone.
  • Tell the 9-1-1 calltaker your location and call back number. Some VoIP providers do not provide this information.
  • Be sure to register your address with your VoIP provider.
  • If you move to a new residence, be sure to give your new address to the VoIP provider.
  • The VoIP phone may not work during electric or cable outages.
  • If you travel with your VoIP adapter, be sure to update your registered location with your service provider. The time it takes to process the update can vary considerably. Therefore, if you need 9-1-1 service when traveling, it may be more expedient to use a different type of phone.


  • Provide the 9-1-1 calltaker with your exact location, phone number and address.
  • Caller must press “Talk” before or after dialing.
  • Can be carried into garage or yard.
  • Will not work during a power outage.


  • Dial 9-1-1 and press “Send” or “Talk.”
  • Tell your location using the address, cross streets or landmarks. Most cell phones provide an approximat,e but not exact, location to 9-1-1 centers that have advanced equipment.
  • Calls may not arrive at the correct 9-1-1 center and may need to be transferred.
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • Calls may drop or fail to go through based on signal strength.
  • The 9-1-1 system is not equipped to receive text messages.


  • Some phones marketed to children have a non-traditional dialing pad. Owners may need to program the phone to dial 9-1-1.
  • Teach your children to dial 9-1-1 only in an emergency.
  • Teach your children to understand what an emergency is by providing examples.
  • Teach your children learn their address and phone number.
  • In an emergency, don’t call a family member first – CALL 9-1-1.


  • Cell phones without a service plan may be provided through a donation program.
  • Tell the calltaker your location immediately. The 9-1-1 system does not receive location information from cell phones without a service plan such as donated phones.
  • Call 9-1-1 again if you’re disconnected since most cell phones without a service plan cannot receive incoming calls.


  • Tell the calltaker your location immediately. The 9-1-1 system cannot receive location information from some cell phone models.
  • If you run out of minutes during a 9-1-1 call, the call will end. The 9-1-1 calltaker cannot call you back.