How 9-1-1 Works
Shelby County is served by an Enhanced 9-1-1 system. The name, address and phone number of the telephone used to dial 9-1-1 is displayed on a computer screen at the 9-1-1 center if you have a traditional wired telephone.
Cell phones display your location subject to exceptions. Cell phones are not as precise as a traditional telephone and you should be prepared to give a location if you call from a cell phone. Read more about cell phones and 9-1-1.
If you are considering a VoIP phone provider, please read the fine print related to 9-1-1. The FCC has ruled that all VoIP carriers must provide full 9-1-1 service as of November 28, 2005, but not all provides route 9-1-1 calls directly to Shelby County 9-1-1. A good resource for consumer information is https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/voip-and-911-service.
TTY / TDD Users Dial 9-1-1. Read this if you use TTY to communicate.
Combining location information with questions asked of the caller, the Call-Taker determines which emergency agency, or agencies, should respond to the scene. The department(s) are then notified to respond by a Dispatcher. Over 95% of calls are dispatched within 60 seconds of being answered
Call 9-1-1 to report any emergency. Police, Fire or Medical. If you need help immediately, call 9-1-1. Don't waste time, call 9-1-1 as soon as you think help is needed!
- Car wreck
- Someone is choking on their food
- Fire of any type, house, woods or other building
- If you see a crime
- Dangerous situation such as gas leak or a power line down
- Someone is drowning
- Someone is hurt or is bleeding or is having trouble breathing
- Tornado or other severe weather damages your home
All you have to do is answer our questions! Stay on the phone and answer the Dispatcher's questions as calmly as you can. We will ask the following:
- The location of the problem.
If you do not know the address, be prepared to give directions or describe your location.
- The type of problem.
Tell us in plain language what is happening.
- Details about the problem
The Dispatcher is trained to get more information while the emergency units are responding.
Do Not Call 9-1-1 if the problem is not an emergency, look up the non-emergency number in the phone book. If you call 9-1-1 for non-emergencies, someone with a real emergency might have a delay in receiving service.
- To ask directions or for general information
- To report water or electricity is out
- To check if a police report is ready
- To check for severe weather reports
You can make a real difference by helping until the emergency units arrive, and the Dispatcher will provide directions for things such as:
- Rescue Breathing
- Choking (Heimlich maneuver)
- Controlling Bleeding
- Other first-aid
Emergency Medical Dispatchers are trained to provide pre-arrival instructions to callers. Medical emergencies are the most common use of pre-arrival instructions.