For Police, Fire or Medical Emergency: 911 Calls (e.g., for crime in progress or life threatening situations) to police can be made 24 hours a day 7 Days a week.
This is just a cross section of when to call 9-1-1. There may be circumstances that differ from the examples given, but remember, if it is happening now and you see it taking place, then call 911 before the suspect gets away!
When you call 911, there are a number of questions that the operator will ask you. A 911 operator is trained to work through the questions in a systematic order, so the questions may seem very quick or rapid fire. But, this is the only way to gather the information as quickly as possible. For instance, if you saw a male break into your neighbor's house and this same suspect is now leaving the home, then this may be the way an operator would ask the questions.
Is the male Caucasian?
How tall is he?
What color hair, and how long?
Does he have any facial hair?
What is he wearing?
What is his direction of travel?
Is there any vehicle involved?
Please remember that the police officer is driving to the scene and could be looking for the suspect. If the police officer spots the suspect running from the area, the suspect will be stopped or the police officer will call for assistance so the suspect can be apprehended.
When the suspect is caught, it is because you helped out and called 911 with the information. You are our eyes and ears and an extension of the police officer. So, the next time you have to call 9-1-1, just let the trained operator take control of the conversation and get the information as quickly as possible.
To make the service work best for you:
Do not pre-program 911 into your telephone, this can cause dialling problems if the battery is low on cordless phones or the button is hit accidentally.
At a Business:
At some locations like a business you may need to dial an outside line before dialling 911.
At a Pay Phone:
Only dial 911 - coins are not necessary.
Please advise the operator that you are using a cellular phone and be prepared to give your location, including the city or town.
If you inadvertently Dial 911, never hang up after making a 911 call - the operator must phone back and this wastes valuable time.
Check your wireless device and make sure the "9" button is not pre-programmed. On older phones, if you hold the "9" for two seconds or longer, it will dial 911. Please check the "9" button and take the device into your wireless carrier if it is pre-programmed and get it deprogrammed. Phones on belts or in purses generate hundreds of accidental calls every day.
Internet-based phone calls made to the 911 system can delay emergency services from responding quickly. Internet-based phone calls, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), may endanger lives because 911 calls can potentially be routed to the wrong emergency call centre in a different city or country. Internet-based phone calls work with a regular telephone handset which plugs into a high-speed Internet service provided by a telephone or cable company. If you are travelling with your VoIP phone and you dial 911, your call may be routed back to their home location not the 911 call centre of the city that they are visiting.
We receive an average 14,000 unfounded 911 calls per year in Surrey. Some of these calls are unintentional as a person may misdial "911" when they meant to dial another number, such as "411". Many, however are intentional as someone may call "911" to ask to be connected to another number such as the police for a non-emergency matter.
With these calls, the police still have to come to the address provided by the call maker. This could divert police away from a real emergency. This can seriously affect the service we provide to you, your family, friends and our community as a real emergency may be taking place. Time, even seconds, is often a key factor is saving someone's life and if the emergency service is unnecessarily delayed from getting to where they are needed, the result could be tragedy.
The External link, opens in a new window911 For Kids Website is an excellent resource for parents who want to teach their children when and how to use the 911 service.
IN AN EMERGENCY
DON'T EVER ABUSE IT!!
The non-emergency number should be used when an immediate response or dispatch of the police is not required. Dial 604-599-0502 for all non-emergency calls. By doing so, you are keeping 911 lines available for people reporting an emergency situation.
Remember: It is not an emergency when the situation is not dangerous and immediate action is not required.
Examples of non-emergency calls for police: