9-1-1 Kid’s Corner

Kids: Know how to call for help!

When you call 911 for an emergency, it is important to try and remain calm and give as much information as possible to the operator. It is important that you listen to what the operator tells you to do. Stay on the phone until help arrives or until the operator says it’s OK to hang up. The 911 operator will stay on the phone as long as you need them to or until a police or fireman is there with you. Below are some steps to help you if an emergency occurs.

How to dial:

First, get to a safe place to make the call. If where you are is not safe, go to a neighbor’s to use their phone.

Stay calm

Make sure you know the exact location and address of the emergency

Pick up the receiver and wait for a dial tone or go to the dial pad on your cell phone.

Dial or press 9 then 1 then 1 again.

Wait for the ring. A 9-1-1 dispatcher will answer.

Never practice calling 9-1-1 on a real phone.

It is important that you only call 9-1-1 when it’s a real emergency. An emergency is when something happens and you need help from the police or the fire department or an ambulance. If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you it is OK to do so. If you hang up, the operator will think there is an emergency and send the police.

What do I say?

Stay calm and speak clearly.

Listen carefully to the Dispatchers questions and answer each question carefully.

Answer all questions slowly. Remember the Dispatcher cannot see your hand or head gestures.

Tell the operator what your emergency is.

Say your address – know your address!

Stay on the line. Do not hang up until the Dispatcher tells you it is OK to do so. They may need to ask additional questions about your emergency.

The dispatcher may give you directions to help you. Follow the directions the Dispatcher gives you and remain calm.

If you can, stay by the phone in case the 9-1-1 Operator needs to call you back.

What to do if you can’t speak?

Stay calm

Dial or press 9 then 1 then 1 again.

Leave the phone off the hook or make some sort of noise to let the dispatcher know there is an emergency. The operator can find your address from your phone and send the police help you.

What about dialing 9-1-1 from a cell phone?

Some cell phones do not know your location. When you call from a cell phone it is important to know your address. Never hang up.


Teach kids to not hang up on an accidental 9-1-1 call. Inform the dispatcher that the call was an accident before you hang up.

Do not pre-program 9-1-1 into your or your child’s cell phone’s speed dial. This can lead to accidental calls.

Teach young children how and when to dial 9-1-1 from a toy cell phone. Train them to press 9-1-1 and the “send” button only in an emergency.

Remember that even cell phones without active service can dial 9-1-1. Therefore, you should always take the batteries out of a cell phone before recycling it or giving it to a child to play with.

Consider keeping a landline at home for 9-1-1 calls. The dispatcher will always get an accurate location from a landline.

Remember, using 9-1-1 in non-emergency situations prevents critical emergencies from being attended to. Be a good neighbor!

Click here for a free 9-1-1 For Kids booklet from the RED CROSS