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When to Call 9-1-1

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In an emergency (when you believe that the immediate response of the police, a fire truck or an ambulance is needed).  Some examples of when to call 9-1-1:

  • When you see fire or smoke.
  • When you or someone with you is in danger.
  • When you see a crime is being committed or has just occurred.
  • When you believe that an ambulance is needed because someone is hurt or sick.
  • When someone is trying to get in your house.
  • When someone suspicious is prowling around your house or neighbors house.
  • When a child is approached by a stranger.

When NOT to Call 9-1-1

Some examples of when not to call 9-1-1:

  • To obtain weather reports.
  • To report utility problems, such as power outages, phone and water repairs.
  • To ask for directions or road names.
  • For general information pertaining to police reports, jails.
  • Keys locked in vehicles, unless someone is locked inside.
  • To request a cab.
  • To request an ambulance for non-emergency routine transports.
  • To find out what time the parade begins.

Remember 9-1-1 is to be used for emergencies (when you believe that the immediate response of the police, a fire truck or an ambulance is needed).

For police information, call your local police.


Anyone Can Call 9-1-1

  • Anyone can call 9-1-1, no matter how old you are. Children have helped their parents when they were as young as three years old!
  • The sight-impaired can use the digits, 9-1-1 on the telephone.
  • The hearing and speech impaired can use a special phone called a TTY/TDD machine to access 9-1-1.



How to call 9-1-1

  • To call 9-1-1 from a home phone or a simple business phone, pick up the phone and press the numbers, 9-1-1.
  • To call 9-1-1 from a Centrex or PBX business extension, obtain an outside line and then press the numbers, 9-1-1.
  • To call 9-1-1 from a pay phone, no money is needed, simply pick up the receiver and press the numbers 9-1-1.
  • To call 9-1-1 from a cellular phone or mobile phone, press the numbers 9-1-1 and press the "send" or "snd" button (this button is usually green). Be prepared to give your cell phone number and your location. 


9-1-1 and How it Works

When you dial 9-1-1 in Missoula County, your call will be automatically routed to the 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PASP).



What do I need to do when I use 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is only a telephone number. Quick response depends on the important information that you provide. The 9-1-1 Telecommunicator will ask you a series of questions. Remain calm and be prepared to provide the following information:

  • What kind of emergency you have or what kind of help you need.
  • Where is the emergency?
  • The telephone number you are calling from.
  • If you are reporting a medical emergency be prepared to provide the following additional information:
    • What is wrong with the patient?
    • Age of patient.
    • Is the patient conscious?
    • Is the patient breathing normally?

REMEMBER: 9-1-1 is not for jokes... it is for people who need help.  Know your address and telephone number.


Helpful Tips

  • Post your address, phone number and the closest intersection to your home by each telephone for anyone (babysitter, friend, visitor and family members) to be able to give the vital information needed for quick response.
  • Be sure your house number is visible from the street or clearly posted where your driveway joins the main road.
  • Be sure to explain to your children what is and is not an emergency! If they are ever in doubt tell them to call 9-1-1.

Additional Information