Know How to Use 9-1-1 With the Phone You Own

Traditional, Hard-Wired Landline Phones
  • Provide the 9-1-1 calltaker with your exact location, phone number and address.
  • Landline phones will not work during telephone outages.
  • Cordless phones will not work during electrical power outages.

All Cell Phones
  • Dial 9-1-1 and press "Send" or "Talk".
  • Give the 9-1-1 calltaker your location using the address, cross streets or landmarks. Most cell phones provide an approximate, 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.
  • Calls may drop or fail to go through based on signal strength.
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • The 9-1-1 system is not equipped to receive text messages.

VOIP/Internet/Digital Phones
  • Be familiar with the emergency calling features of your Voice over Internet Phone.
  • Give the 9-1-1 calltaker your location and phone number. Some VoIP providers do not provide this information to the calltaker.
  • Be sure to register your address with your VoIP provider. The address you provide is the location to which emergency help will be sent.
  • If you move to a new residence, be sure to give your new address to the VoIP provider to ensure help is dispatched to the correct address.
  • The VoIP phone may not work during electrical or cable outages.
  • If you travel and want to be able to use your VoIP phone to report an emergency, be sure to give your destination address (hotel, resort, etc.) to your VoIP service provider.

Kids Cell Phones
  • Some phones marketed to children have a non-traditional dialing pad. An adult may need to program the phone to dial 9-1-1.
  • Teach your children to dial 9-1-1 only in an emergency.
  • Help your children understand what an emergency is by providing examples.
  • Help your children learn their address and phone number.

Inactive Cell Phones
  • 9-1-1 calls can be placed from an inactive cell phone (one without a service plan).
  • The 9-1-1 system may not receive location information. Give the calltaker your location immediately.
  • Call 9-1-1 back immediately if your call is dropped because inactive cell phones cannot receive any incoming calls, including those from a 9-1-1 calltaker.