How 9-1-1 Works

Shelby County 9-1-1
How 9-1-1 Works

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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.

VoIP phone service varies depending on the service provider. Please read the fine print from your provider about 9-1-1 and see http://www.911voip.org/ to learn more.

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 90 seconds of being answered!


All of Shelby County is covered by 9-1-1 service,
it does not matter if you live in a city or unincorporated area,
9-1-1 will provide access to your local emergency agencies.


When to Call 9-1-1 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!

When to call 9-1-1...

  • 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

What Should I Say?
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.

When NOT to call 9-1-1...

  • Loud party or music
  • Barking dogs or cats up a tree
  • 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

What Can I Do?
Y ou can make a real difference by helping until the emergency units arrive, and the Dispatcher will provide directions for things such as:

  • CPR
  • Rescue Breathing
  • Childbirth
  • 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.


Shelby County 9-1-1, 1004 County Services Dr, Pelham, Alabama 35124 (205)439-6911
Copyright 2012