THE USE OF 9-1-1Citizens across the United States are often confused about when to dial 9-1-1 . Usually when there is a fire, a need for an ambulance, or a serious crime is committed, they know dialing 9-1-1 is appropriate. These are true emergencies. However, dialing 9-1-1 is appropriate for other less obvious reasons.
• A person discovers his car has been stolen. Whether or not his is a true emergency is questionable to some people. This would be an appropriate call to 9-1-1 because the person needs a police response.
• Raw sewage is backing up into a house from the municipal sewage lines. Because the caller needs a fast response from the appropriate agencies (in most communities the fire department would respond), this would be an acceptable 9-1-1 call.
• On the other hand, dialing 9-1-1 for a cat in a tree is NOT appropriate. Even though the fire department may respond anyway, there is no hurry. The cat could wait an extra half an hour and using the seven-digit number would be the better choice.
Use 9-1-1 when you need immediate police, fire, or EMS response. If your need is not of an urgent nature, you should dial the the ten-digit number for the proper department from which you are requesting service.