Know How To Use 9-1-1 With The Phone You Own


Traditional, hard wired land line phones

  • Provide the 9-1-1 telecommunicator 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 telecommunicator your location using the address, cross streets or landmarks closest to you.  Most cell phones provide an approximate, but not exact, location to 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).
  • Calls may not arrive at the correct PSAP and may need to be transferred.
  • Calls may drop or fail based on signal strength.
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • 9-1-1 is not equipped to receive text messages (at this time).




VOIP (Voice Over IP)/Internet/Digital Phones

  • Be familiar with the calling features of your VOIP phone.
  • Give the 9-1-1 telecommunicator your location and phone number.  Some VOIP providers do not provide this information to the telecommunicator.
  • Be sure you 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, UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS with your VOIP provider to ensure help is dispatched to the correct address.
  • VOIP phones may not work during electrical or cable outages.
  • If you use your VOIP phone while traveling and want to be able to report an emergency, UPDATE YOUR DESTINATION ADDRESS (hotel, resort, etc.) with your VOIP provider.



Kids Cell Phones

  • Some phones may not have a traditional keypad.  An adult may need to program the phone to dial 9-1-1.
  • Teach children to dial 9-1-1 ONLY IN AN EMERGENCY.
  • Help children understand what an emergency is by providing examples.
  • Help children learn their address and phone number.




Inactive or Non Initialized Cell Phones

  • 9-1-1 calls can be placed from an inactive or non initialized cell phone (one without a service plan).
  • Give the 9-1-1 telecommunicator your location and phone number.
  • 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 telecommunicator.


To learn more about 9-1-1, visit the following sites: and