Types of Phones Used When Calling 911

Calling from a Landline (Hard-Wired Phone)

When you call 911 from home or a business, through the phone company, the name, address and phone number is displayed on our screen much like caller ID. Our Telecommunicators must ask for your name and address to verify the information. The displayed information may not be where help is needed.

It also helps us to identify and correct inconsistent information. If you recently moved and kept your phone number, the phone company may not have updated the information right away. If you have had your phone for a long period of time and the information is incorrect, this is something we can help get corrected.

Calling from a Business Phone

Many business require you to dial "9" to get an outside line, so you may have to dial 9-9-1-1 or just 911 to get us. Sometimes if you are working for a large company, such as a bank, their phone lines may ring into us even though your office is in another city. This is because their phone system is based in our city. Check with your employer to confirm which way you need to call when you need help.

We are currently not accepting text messages, photos or videos from cell phones.

Calling from a Cell Phone

If you call 911 on a cell phone, your exact location will not automatically display as it does when calling from most hard wired home/business phones. With a few extra steps we can triangulate the location of the phone and initiate assistance.

Teaching Children

When you teach your children how to dial 911, be sure to teach them how to dial 911 from a cell phone. Let them know its not like the hard wired phone at home. Don't forget to teach them to press the "Send" key. Learn more about helping children with 911.

Pre-Paid Phone

If you have received a pre-paid cell phone from the police department, a domestic violence advocate program or use a disconnected cell phone, we are not able to identify your exact location. If you are able to at least say the address so we can hear it, we can start assistance to you. 

We are not able to call these phones back as they do not take incoming calls.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone Service

VoIP is a rapidly growing alternative to traditional phone service. Its popularity is fueled primarily by low prices, new features and the consumer's ability to choose a phone number from nearly anywhere in the country and internationally.

  • Provide your physical address to your interconnected VoIP service provider to ensure that public safety units can quickly be dispatched to your location.
  • Be familiar with your VoIP service provider's procedures for updating your address, and promptly update address information in the event of a change.
  • Have a clear understanding of any limitations of your 911 service.
  • Inform children, babysitters, and visitors about your VoIP service and its 911 limitations, if any.
  • If your power is out or your Internet connection is down, be aware that your VoIP service may not work. Consider installing a backup power supply, maintaining a traditional phone line or having a wireless phone as a backup.
  • If you have questions about whether the phone service you are receiving is an interconnected VoIP service, contact your service provider for further information.