Tips for Dialing 9-1-1

Cell Phone Emergency Calls

Consumers making a 9-1-1 call from a wireless phone should remember the following:
  • Tell the emergency operator the location of the emergency right away.
  • Provide the emergency operator with your wireless phone number, so if the call gets disconnected the emergency operator can call you back.
  • PSAPs currently lack the technical capability to receive texts, photos, and videos.
  • If your wireless phone is not initialized (meaning you do not have a contract for service with a wireless service provider), and your emergency call gets disconnected, you must call the emergency operator back because the operator does not have your telephone number and cannot contact you.
  • To help public safety personnel allocate emergency resources, learn and use the designated number in your state for highway accidents or other nonlife-threatening incidents. States often reserve specific numbers for these types of incidents. For example, #77 is the number used for highway accidents in Virginia.
  • Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 9-1-1 when one button is pressed, such as the 9-key. Unintentional wireless 9-1-1 calls, which often occur when auto-dial keys are inadvertently pressed, cause problems for emergency call centers.
  • If your wireless phone came programmed with the auto-dial 9-1-1 feature already turned on, turn this feature off. Consult your user manual for instructions.
  • Lock your keypad when you’re not using your wireless phone. This action prevents accidental calls to 9-1-1.
  • Consider creating a contact in your wireless phone’s memory with the name “ICE” (in Case of Emergency), which lists the phone numbers of people you want to have notified in an emergency.