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911 F.A.Q.’s

Below are some common questions concerning 911, and the use of 911.  Click on one of the topics and you will be directed the answer.

What is 911?


911 is an emergency telephone number that provides expedient access to law enforcement, fire and rescue departments, and emergency medical services.

When should I call 911?

9-1-1 should be used for emergencies only. An emergency is a crime in progress and/or a life threatening situation requiring the police, fire department or ambulance. If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency you should dial  9-1-1. The 9-1-1 call taker can determine if you need emergency assistance, or direct you to a non emergent number.

When should I NOT call 911?

  • To get a telephone number.  Call information (411) or check the telephone book.
  • To report a power or cable outage.  Call your local power or cable company.
  • To get weather information.  Contact the National Weather Service weather recording at (719)573-6846, the 11-News Line at (719)630-1111, or  Automated Weather Observation at (719)637-9696.
  • To get road conditions.  Contact the Colorado Department of Transportation Road and Weather Hotline at 877-315-7623 or website www.cotrip.org.
  • To get information about school closings.  Check for closures on major television and radio stations, or contact the school.
  • To get directions or an address.  Most streets and a map are in your telephone book, or online using a web site such as Google Maps.
  • To get household or automobile repairs.  Contact a repair service of your choice.
  • To get legal advice.  Check in the telephone book or contact Pikes Peak legal services at 471-0380, The Lawyer Referral Service at 636-1532, or Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP (7867).
  • To report an injured wild animal.  Contact the Division of Wildlife at 227-5200.
  • To report an injured domestic animal.  Contact a local veterinarian or the Humane Society of the Pike’s Peak Region at 473-1741.

Why does the 911 call taker ask all those questions?


The 911 call taker is trained to ask you a series of questions.  Some questions are always the same:

  • “911, What is the location of your emergency?”
  • “What is the telephone number you are calling from?”
  • “Tell me exactly what happened.”

Once this initial information is determined, appropriate help can be dispatched.

Depending on the type of emergency, the 9-1-1 call taker may need to keep you on the line to provide further instructions or information until help arrives.  The additional information gathered is helpful in aiding the responding field units.  For example, if you are reporting a medical situation or accident, the telecommunicator will continue with a series of questioning.  Be assured that while you are being asked those questions, appropriate help is being dispatched.  In many cases, the 9-1-1 call taker asks the questions while another dispatcher is sending help.

When reporting an emergency, try to remain calm so the 9-1-1 call taker can understand what you are reporting so appropriate help can be dispatched.

How does the 911 call taker know my address?


9-1-1 call taker computers are equipped with an ANI/ALI screen (Automatic Number Identification/Automatic Location Identification). Calls generated from a traditional landline phone will relay the callers telephone number along with the address the service is associated with. Most cell phone callers display latitude/longitude coordinates that a 9-1-1 call taker can view on a map to determine the location of the caller.  The call taker will still ask you your address just to make sure it matches what is on the screen. The location of an emergency is critically important information that is used to get first responders to you quickly. The location can be a street address, cross streets, landmark, or a mile marker on a highway.

What should I do if I call 911 by accident?

DO NOT HANG UP. Tell the 9-1-1 call taker that you called by accident. The 9-1-1 call taker will verify your address along with the telephone number you are calling from. If you hang up, and a 9-1-1 call taker is unable to reach you, an unnecessary emergency response may be sent to check your welfare. If you use a cell phone, you can avoid accidental calls to 9-1-1 by locking your phone before you put it in your pocket or purse.

How do I register for the Cell Phone Emergency Notification System (ENS)?

Click here to visit the Emergency Notification System registration page.