What is an Emergency?
An emergency is defined as: “An event or occurrence demanding immediate action; or any condition endangering or thought to be endangering life or property”
- Accidents with Injuries
- Fire (or smell of smoke)
- Crime in Progress
- Breathing Problems
- Choking/unconscious person
- Stabbing, shooting
- Fights or displays of weapons
- Other life-threatening situations
Not An Emergency
- Minor accidents (no injuries)
- Barking dogs
- Late report of crime
- Power outage during a storm
- Abandoned vehicle
- Loud Parties
- Weather and road conditions
- Keys locked in vehicle
- Legal advice
For a Non-Emergency call (304) 485-8501
Download the 911 Information Sheet
DO NOT call 9-1-1 for information, directory assistance, when you’re bored and just want to talk, for paying tickets, for your pet, as a prank.
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 Telecommunicators 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.
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, DO NOT hang up. Tell the Telecommunicator what happened so they know there is not an emergency.
Dialing Tips and Procedures
If an emergency situation arises (a crime, a fire, a serious injury or illness) ask yourself whether POLICE, FIRE DEPARTMENT, or MEDICAL assistance is needed RIGHT NOW to protect life or property. If the answer is yes, then immediately dial 9-1-1 and tell the Telecommunicator what has happened or is happening. 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 Telecommunicator determine if you need emergency assistance.
When Dialing 911 You Should
- Stay calm. Give your name, location, and nature of the emergency.
- Listen carefully to the Telecommunicator for helpful information.
- Answer the Telecommunicator’s questions as accurately as possible. Speak clearly and slowly.
- NEVER hang up on the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator until you are told to do so.
- If there’s a fire, stay low in the smoke and get out of the house. Call from a neighbor’s house or pay phone.
Ideas to Help at Home
- Keep your phone at an easy to reach level, like on the coffee table.
- A cordless phone offers you mobility in your home.
- Write your address and telephone number in large print on or near your phone.
- Make sure your address is on the FRONT of your house.
- Do not program 9-1-1 into the speed dial. It can inadvertently be dialed.
- TEACH your children how to use 9-1-1 for emergencies.
Hearing/Speech Impaired Callers
Communications centers that answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones to respond to 9-1-1 calls from deaf or hearing/speech impaired callers. If a caller uses a TTY/TDD, the caller should:
- Stay calm. Place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 9-1-1.
- After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
- Give the telecommunicator time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again. The 9-1-1 telecommunicator should answer and type “GA” for go ahead.
- Tell the telecommunicator what the emergency is and what assistance you require; tell him or her if you need the fire department, police, or EMS. Give your name, phone number, and the address where help is needed.
- Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the telecommunicator’s questions.
Types of Phones You Can Use
- Touch Tone
- Pay Phones (No money is needed–simply press the numbers 9-1-1)
- TDD/TTY (Deaf and Hearing/Speech Impaired)
Calling 911 on a Cellular Phone
- If you are in your vehicle, pull off to the side of the road
- Dial 9-1-1
- Tell the Telecommunicator the location of the emergency and your call back cellular phone number.
- Be Patient.
Ready to Call 911?
9-1-1 Telecommunicators are trained to get as much information as possible regarding 9-1-1 calls. To be ready to answer their questions, read these examples of the three most common 9-1-1 calls:
- Automobile Accident
- Give the Street and block number or the nearest major location.
- Tell if there are injuries.
- Report information such as fuel spills, possible fire danger, etc.
- Suspicious Person
- Give the sex, race, age of the person(s).
- Give a clothing description.
- Describe the suspicious activity.
- Suspicious Vehicle
- Get the vehicle description, color, make, model, year, and anything unusual about the vehicle. Try to tell all that you can.
- Are there people in the vehicle? If so, how many? Age? Race? Sex? Clothing description?
- Is the vehicle parked or moving? If it’s moving, tell the direction of travel.
What to do if you can’t speak?
- Stay calm
- Dial 9-1-1
- Either leave the phone hanging or make some sort of noise to let the dispatcher know there is an emergency.
In an emergency, remember to…
- Dial 9-1-1
- Stay Calm
- State which emergency service you need: Police/Sheriff, Fire Department, Emergency Medical Service
- Speak Clearly
- State your emergency
- State your address–it’s very important to verify your address
Remember reasons to call 9-1-1 are:
- Crimes in progress (this means shots fired, disturbances, suspicious persons or activities, crimes involving serious injury)
- Accidents, accidents with injury
- Life and Death Situations
- Medical Emergencies
- Someone is Injured
- To Prevent a Crime
- To Report a Fire
Tips for Seniors
- Invest in a touch-tone phone with large, easy-to-read numbers. Put a DIAL 9-1-1 reminder next to the phone.
- Keep your medical history and a list of the medications you are taking in an envelope taped to your refrigerator with your doctor’s name and phone number on it.
- Do not dial “0” for help. DIAL 9-1-1