When to Call 911

Recognizing an Emergency
Research has shown that the general public hesitates in making a call to 911. People may have difficulty recognizing the signs of an emergency and feel that the call may be unwarranted. Some people may feel they are imposing on public services. Anyone can lose precious minutes in the delay of making a call due to concerns over the potential long-term impacts on work, childcare, or finances. But it is up to you, the caller, to make that first step, to take action even if uncertainty exists or when a person you may feel needs help is actively denying that help is needed.

Remember, never be afraid to dial 911 because of uncertainty. If you think you or someone else is experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately and let the dispatch center and other emergency service professionals help you. That's why the service exists, to help you in an emergency situation.

Situations Demanding Immediate Attention
  • A fire of any kind including: Structure, Vehicle, Outside, Boat
  • Hazardous spill
  • A motor vehicle accident
  • A rescue of any kind including: Water, Ice, Trench
  • Any unknown odors both inside or out
  • Alarms of any kind including: Smoke Detector, Sprinkler, Carbon Monoxide
  • An allergic reaction of any kind
  • A seizure or convulsion
  • Burns covering an area larger than the palm of your hand
  • Severe injury or being the victim of trauma or an attack
  • Bleeding or spurting blood that you can't stop
  • Not breathing or having difficulty breathing
  • Choking and unable to clear the obstruction
  • Unconsciousness, fainting, not alert, or making funny noises
  • Chest pains, constricting bands, or crushing discomfort around the chest area-even if the pain stops
  • Unusual numbness, tightness, pressure, or aching pain in the chest, neck, jaw, arm, or upper back