9-1-1 Tips

Calling 9-1-1

  • Call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency that requires immediate action from the police, fire or ambulance: if someone’s health, safety, or property is in jeopardy or if a crime is in progress
  • Know your location at all times
  • Don’t program 9-1-1 into any phone
  • If you call 9-1-1 accidentally, stay on the line and let us know
  • Lock and store your cellphone carefully to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls
  • Do not text or tweet 9-1-1, dial 9-1-1 in an emergency

Accidental 9-1-1 Calls

Help prevent an accidental call to 9-1-1

  • Protect your cellphone by locking and storing it carefully
  • Keep it in a safe position when not in use and use a case or holster to protect it
  • Use your cellphone’s key lock to help prevent accidental calls
  • Don’t program 9-1-1 into any telephone — speed dials cause accidental 9-1-1 calls
  • Please do not test 9-1-1 to see if it’s working

If you dial 9-1-1 accidentally, stay on the line and tell us. If you hang up we don’t know if you are okay and will have to call back or, if you’ve called from a landline and we can determine your location, send police to check on you.

  • Stay on the line
  • Don’t ever hang up
  • Be prepared to answer questions
  • If our call-takers have any concern for your safety or feel there are suspicious circumstances, they will send police to check on you

Non-emergency Calls to 9-1-1

Don’t let non-emergencies compete with real ones. In other words, it’s important to know when to call
9-1-1 or when to call the non-emergency line. E-Comm estimates that about 20 per cent of calls on police emergency lines don’t belong there.

If you need police assistance that is not of an emergency nature (for example: more than 15 minutes have passed since the incident occurred, there are no injuries, the suspects are nowhere to be seen and their location is unknown), please use your local ten-digit non-emergency numbers.

Remember, 9-1-1 is for police, fire, or medical emergencies when immediate action is required: someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress.

If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Emergency call takers will help determine if immediate action is required or if you should hang-up and dial the non-emergency line.

Know your Location

In order to receive the emergency services you need, knowing your location is critical. In fact, it will be the first question police, fire or ambulance call takers will ask when you call 9-1-1.

Knowing your exact location is always important no matter which phone you use to call 9-1-1. But, if you are using a cellphone or internet phone, it’s paramount. In Canada, the only phones that provide exact address/location information to 9-1-1 centres are landlines (the wired phones found in homes and businesses).  Cellphones provide only general location information and Internet phones provide no location information.

  • Know your location at all times and communicate it when you are asked
  • You should know what city you are in, building or home addresses, cross streets, and any other information that will help emergency personnel find you
  • Learn your compass directions (north, south, east, west)

Important information from Search & Rescue: Never wait to call 9-1-1 if you are lost outdoors. Even though you may not feel an urgent threat to your health or safety, it is best to make the call immediately rather than trying to find your way back. Once you’ve made this call, follow the instructions of the 9-1-1 call taker and/or search and rescue official. This may include being instructed to conserve your cellphone’s battery power by not making any other calls and establishing set times for further communication with emergency responders.