Find Out Which Emergencies Merit a Call to 911
Not all emergencies warrant a 911 call. Learn when to dial those numbers.
Most people wouldn’t hesitate to dial 911 if they spotted a fire, but many other situations aren’t so clear. If a situation threatens life, health or property, call right away. Need some guidance beyond that? Take a look at these common situations and solutions:
- You spot a dead deer blocking the road. A large obstruction could cause accidents and immediately perils other drivers.
- You suspect a drunk driver is ahead of you. You may help prevent a crash if police can pull this person off the road.
- There’s a downed power line in your yard. Call 911 because there’s a danger of fire or injury to you and others.
- You just witnessed a robbery. Call 911 so police can catch the thieves before they strike again.
Call nonemergency personnel
- Your new puppy ran away. While your family may consider this an emergency, it’s not a public danger. Instead, call the police department’s nonemergency number. Find it in the phone book or call directory assistance (411).
- You want to know which roads are closed for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. This is not an emergency, and no one is at risk of being injured. Call your local nonemergency police number.
- A vehicle blocks your driveway. This may seem like a crisis to you, but it’s not a public hazard. Call your local nonemergency police number.
Learn more about making 911 calls when it counts at 911.gov.