What Should I Do When I Call 9-1-1?

Watch our 9-1-1 Public Education Video

Seconds count during an emergency and it is important to understand the information that needs to be provided to the 9-1-1 call taker to get help quickly during a fire, medical emergency or a crime.

911 Communication Center

When you call 9-1-1, you will be asked to provide your location, name, phone number, and a description of the incident. It is important that you are prepared to provide details of the emergency situation. The 9-1-1 call taker is trained to ask questions to obtain the details of the emergency from you to determine the appropriate public safety response.  Be patient, remain calm and speak clearly while the 9-1-1 call taker asks you questions.

Listen and follow direction provided by the call taker. The 9-1-1 call taker has been trained to provide life saving instructions while you are on the phone. Depending on the situation, the call taker’s instructions may include giving someone CPR, delivering a baby, telling you to secure yourself in a room, or take other action to prevent harm.

Do not hang up until the call taker tells you to. The questions that are being asked and the life safety instructions that are being provided do not delay the dispatch of the sheriff, police or fire/EMS units.

911 Emergency Call Center

When call volume into the 9-1-1 center is extremely high and the number of calls exceeds the number of 9-1-1 call takers to answer the phones, you may reach a recording. If you dial 9-1-1 and a reach a recording, please do not hang up.  Stay on the line and your call will be answered, usually within a few seconds.

If you hang up before talking to the  9-1-1 call taker, the call will still be delivered to a call taker in the 9-1-1 center. When a 9-1-1 call taker is presented with a hang up call, the call taker is required to call back and confirm that there is no emergency at your location.  If you don't answer, a police officer will be dispatched to confirm that you are okay.

Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications answers 9-1-1 calls for five (5) municipal police departments that dispatch their own police units. When 9-1-1 calls are received requiring police response within one of these five areas (Hyattsville, Laurel, Greenbelt, Riverdale, and Bladensburg), the call taker will transfer the call to the appropriate the municipal police department dispatch center. Calls requiring Maryland State Police response to incidents will be transferred to the appropriate barrack for dispatch.

Please be patient during these transfer processes and be prepared to repeat information about your location, telephone number and a description of the emergency situation.