Tips for Calling 911
- Do not hang up! There are periods of time that several 911 calls are being received at once. If you hear a message that you have reached 911 do not hang up. If you do not hear a recording or ringing after several seconds, you may hangup and redial. TTY users can press any key after dialing 9-1-1 to indicate that a TTY is being used. However, our staff are trained to treat every "silent" call as a potential TTY call.
- Do not hang up if you call 911 by accident! Hang ups require 911 operators to call back the number the incoming 911 call came from. This happens up to 200 times a day and uses valuable 911 resources including phone lines that should be used for answering emergency calls.
- Give the Location. Address (Apartment, Duplex, House or Business), Intersection or Landmarks. While waiting for 911 to answer think about how to describe where you need help.
- Suspect and Suspect Vehicle Descriptions are essential! Our 911 staff ask for details depending on the type of issue being reported.
- If the situation changes before help arrives call 9-1-1 again and update the operator.
- In large office buildings with multi-line phone systems, the correct address may not display to the 9-1-1 operator. It is important to advise the operator of the actual address of the building and where the problem is located in the building (example floor, suite number, room number, etc.).
- Most Cellular Phones nowadays have Global Positioning System (GPS) capability. However, it is essential that you tell the operator your location for confirmation, or in case your phone is not working properly. Despite popular belief; when a cell phone calls 9-1-1 the address you are calling from never appears on the Minneapolis 911 computer screen. Cell phone location information is received as latitude and longitude information that can be transferred to a map. However the accuracy of this data can vary greatly, especially calling from indoors. This is why it is so important to tell the operator where you are.
- On some calls for medical assistance, the operator will ask some basic questions and then transfer the call to an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for instructions on what to do to assist the patient until help arrives.
- HELP CAN BE SENT WHILE YOU TALK. State the problem briefly. Answer the operator's questions and stay on the line until the operator terminates the call.
- Inform the operator if you want to speak to the officer(s) or responders
- If you need a translator, let the operator know. Tell the operator the language you need and an interpreter will be brought on the line.
- If you experience problems with the operator or feel your call was handled inappropriately, ask to speak to the on-duty supervisor.
How to use 911 brochures
Last updated May 5, 2015