Emergency Helpline in USA

The United States, 911 is a number you can call on any telephone to get emergency help. 911 should only be used in the event of an emergency. Teach your family about when it is and is not appropriate to call 911. Examples are listed below.

Call 911 to:

  • Report a fire;
  • Report a crime in progress;
  • Request emergency medical help;
  • Report a gas leak; and
  • Report suspicious activities, such as screams, calls for help, or gunshots.


Do Not Call 911 to:

  • Ask for directions;
  • Ask for information about public services;
  • Find out if someone is in jail;
  • Report situations that are not emergencies;
  • Ask for information about animal control; or
  • Talk to a police officer.

Call 911 for serious, life-threatening emergencies only. Calling 911 for the wrong reason may keep someone else from getting the help he or she needs. If you have a question for the police, call the non-emergency number for the police department listed in your phone book.

What Happens When I Call 911?

  • Calls to 911 are usually answered within 12 seconds. You may be put on hold. When the operator answers, there will be silence on the phone for several seconds. Do not hang up. Wait for the operator to speak.
  • If you do not speak English, tell the operator what language you speak. An interpreter should come on the line.
  • The 911 operator will ask you questions to find out what and where the emergency is. Keep calm and answer these questions. Try to stay on the phone with the operator until you answer all questions.

Natural Disaster Assistance

Natural disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. Natural disasters come in many forms, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes. In the event you are affected by a natural disaster, access disaster help and resources at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (for hearing impaired).