911 Center

Capt. Robert Newton
Capt. Robert Newton, Director
What should I do if I (or my child) calls 911 by mistake?
Don’t hang up! Have an adult explain to the 911 operator what happened. If the line has already been disconnected, make sure to answer the phone when it rings. It is most likely the 911 operator calling you back. What is Emergency Mode ?Once you have dialed 911 on your cell phone, it may place itself in “emergency mode.” This should prevent any incoming calls or texts other than a return call from dispatch, in case of a dropped call. Contact your service provider for more information about how this feature works on your phone.

Teaching Kids – It is important to teach kids the proper use of 911. It could be your life they save. Give them scenarios and quiz them on their address and other information so they will be comfortable telling the 911 operator. Consider unplugging the phone and have them actually press the numbers. Cell phones are all different, but many have a feature to bypass the keypad lock for emergency calls. Make sure kids know specifically what buttons to press to complete a call. Make it a habit, like changing the batteries in your smoke detectors. Even cell phones without active service can dial 9-1-1. Take batteries out of cell phones before recycling them or giving them to a child to play with.

Stress the importance of only calling when it is a true emergency (fire vs argument with little brother) and what to do if they call accidentally.



  • Where is the situation happening – address, building, intersection, etc.
  • What is happening – car crash, house fire, injured subject.
  • Who is involved – including how many & descriptions, calling party involvement
  • ​When did it happen – something old or a situation in progress.

The call-taker may repeat back certain information including the address or phone number. It is important for you, the caller, to remain as calm as possible and allow the 911 operator to direct the conversation. This will ensure the quickest and most appropriate response.

What if I don’t know where I am?
In this age of smart phones, it can be tough knowing exactly where you are when you call 911. Under normal circumstances, a PIERCE COUNTY E911 operator can pinpoint your location only to the nearest tower that your wireless phone connected to. If you do not know an address near you, look for landmarks, signs and buildings. Even the name of the closest business can be used to help determine your exact location. When should I use 911?

Anytime you need immediate assistance from law enforcement, EMS, or the fire department. 911 should not be used to ask about traffic conditions, directions, or for general information. The non-emergency line for the Police Department is 912-449-2015.