Frequently asked questions
- What is Basic 9-1-1?
- Why Call 9-1-1?
- When should I call 9-1-1?
- Should I call 9-1-1 to find out why the power went out?
- How do I use 9-1-1?
- Can someone text 9-1-1?
- What if a resident can’t speak English or French?
- What happens if an emergency service is unavailable in my community?
- What happens if someone dials 9-1-1 by accident?
What is Basic 9-1-1?
Basic 9-1-1 (B9-1-1) means there is no automatic caller information provided to 9-1-1 by the telephone network and you must provide your location and call back number. “Basic” relates to the telecommunications network and not the 9-1-1 service being provided. Plans are to continue development of the system over the next three years to allow for next generation 9-1-1 services.
Why Call 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is the fastest, easiest way to communicate with law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services during an emergency.
When should I call 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is for emergencies only. You should only dial 9-1-1 if someone is hurt or in danger, or if you are in need of police, fire or emergency medical assistance. If you aren't sure your situation is an emergency, you should be on the side of safety and call 9-1-1.
Should I call 9-1-1 to find out why the power went out?
Do not dial 9-1-1 to find out why the power went out. Contact your local power company. Be patient because everyone else without power may be calling, as well. By calling 9-1-1, you are keeping a dispatcher from helping someone else with a true emergency.
How do I use 9-1-1?
If you have an emergency—use any phone and press the three digits: 9-1-1.
- Tell 9-1-1 the nature of the emergency and your community as soon as you are asked.
- Give 9-1-1 your phone number, so that if the call gets disconnected, you can be reached again.
- Stay on the line and follow the instructions unless 9-1-1 asks you to hang up.
- If you get disconnected, call back.
Can someone text 9-1-1?
9-1-1 uses teletypewriter/telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY/TTD) to assist communication impaired persons. Text to 9-1-1 will be available as part of the next generation 9-1-1 systems being implemented over the next few years.
What if a resident can’t speak English or French?
9-1-1 will connect callers with an interpreter. The interpreter will stay on the call (three-way) with the caller and the community first responders once the call is transferred to them.
What happens if an emergency service is unavailable in my community?
Where a service does not exist or is temporarily unavailable, over-the-phone guidance will be provided to address immediate health or safety risks as best possible.
What happens if someone dials 9-1-1 by accident?
Accidental calls to 9-1-1 will happen periodically, and callers will be asked to stay on the line until the call is determined to be a non-emergency. Nothing further will occur, nor will emergency services be contacted or dispatched.
Please follow these simple tips to help prevent accidental calls:
- Protect your cellphone by locking and storing it carefully.
- Keep it in a safe position when not in use and use a case or holster to protect it.