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Calling 9-1-1

9-1-1 is the number to call if you need help from the police, fire or ambulance right away.

9-1-1 is the number to call if you need help from the police, fire or ambulance right away. Always call 9-1-1 when someone's health or safety is at risk. When a life is at stake, 9-1-1 is the fastest way to get the help you need. NEVER try to drive a very sick or injured person to the hospital thinking it will be faster than waiting for an ambulance. Medical help arrives when the ambulance arrives. In a true emergency, dial 9-1-1 and stay on the phone. We need to ask a few questions so we can send you the right help.

When should you call 9-1-1?

  • In a medical emergency, where someone's airway or breathing is compromised or where blood circulation is interrupted by bleeding or a serious injury, 9-1-1 is the number to call.
  • If you see a fire, call 9-1-1. Even if the fire is on a stove or outside in an alley or other place that seems far away from buildings, fire can spread quickly. For any fire that is not contained in a fire pit or a 'controlled burn' 9-1-1 is the best place to get help.
  • If you see any type of crime IN PROGRESS, call 9-1-1. Whether the crime is someone spray painting graffiti, driving impaired, assault or theft, any crime that is happening right now needs a 9-1-1 call.
  • If there is a motor vehicle accident where an ambulance or tow truck is necessary you should call 9-1-1.

What does a real 9-1-1 call sound like?

Click below to listen to what a 9-1-1 call sounds like:
House fire call Audio File (3 MB) House break in Audio File (4 MB) Fall call Audio File (6 MB)

What questions might 9-1-1 ask you?

"9-1-1 for what City?"

Calgary Public Safety Communications answers 9-1-1 for Calgary as well as many surrounding areas such as Airdrie and Okotoks. We need to know where you are.

"Do you need Police, Fire or Ambulance?"

Which service you require determines what happens next. The Emergency Communications Officer will either continue asking questions or transfer you to the appropriate responding agency.

"What is the address of the emergency?"

Before anything else, we need to know where you are. Even if your address is the only piece of information you are able to give, help will soon be on the way.

9-1-1 needs you to know your location. It is important that everyone in the house knows their home phone number and address, it is also important for you to know your location when not at home. If you don't know the address or are not in a building, look for street signs, building names, or landmarks. Stay calm. We need to get this right.

When you call 9-1-1 on a cell phone we do not get your GPS location. We do receive XY coordinates that vary in accuracy depending on your particular phone, cell phone provider, and the geography of the area you are in (i.e. downtown core vs. Fish Creek Park) Your cell phones XY coordinates will not tell us if you are in a building, what floor you are on, or if you are north south east or west of the coordinates.

"What is the phone number you are calling from?"

Batteries die, cell phones drop calls and people sometimes just accidentally hang up on us. We need your number so we can phone you back if anything happens.

"Tell me exactly what happened?"

The Emergency Communications Officer you are speaking to is working to get emergency responders to you as quickly as possible. Until they arrive, we can help you stay calm, and direct you what to do.

Asking these questions will not delay help getting to you, the help you need is dispatched quickly usually while we are still talking to you.

TXTing to 9-1-1?

9-1-1 isn't as cool as you are. Right now, 9-1-1 cannot receive text messages, so please call 9-1-1 in an emergency.


House fire call
House break in
Fall call