When should I call 911?
You should call 911 anytime there is an actual emergency and a response is required by law enforcement, fire personnel, or emergency medical personnel. Examples include:
- A crime in progress
- A medical emergency
- A vehicle accident
- A fire
- Any immediate threat to life or property
When should I NOT call 911?
If you are not in need of emergency personnel you should not be calling 911. Calling 911 when there is not an emergency ties up the 911 phone lines, causing other 911 calls to be delayed. If there is not an emergency you should call the local business line for the agency you need to speak with. Some examples for when you should call the business line instead of dialing 911 are:
- Reporting an outage of a utility, such as water and electricity - unless this was CAUSED by an emergency, such as a vehicle accident
- A crime that is not in progress, such as a theft or harassment that occurred an hour or a few days ago
- To ask for the "non-emergency" number or for directions - you can call 411 for assistance
- Any barking dogs or other non-vicious animal complaints
- If you are inquiring about a current situation or incident
If you dial 911 by mistake, stay on the line and answer the call takers questions. PenCom gets many "911 Hangup" calls every day and it's our policy to get your information and confirm that there is or is not an emergency.