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Calling 911

911 is the number to call any time you have an emergency requiring police, fire or an ambulance.

Always call 911 when someone's health or safety is at risk. When a life is at stake, 911 is the fastest way to get the help you need. Medical help arrives when the ambulance arrives. In the meantime, Calgary 9-1-1 can provide life saving instructions. NEVER try to drive a very sick or injured person to the hospital thinking it will be faster than waiting for an ambulance. In a true emergency, dial 911 and stay on the phone. We need to ask a few questions so we can send you the right help.

When should you call 911?


In a medical emergency, call 911 when:

  • Someone’s airway or breathing is compromised
  • There is severe or uncontrolled bleeding
  • Someone is complaining of chest pain
  • Someone is experiencing a change of consciousness
  • If you’re not sure if you need an ambulance, it’s better to err on the side of caution

Call 911 for the Fire department, when:

  • You see a fire. Even if the fire is on a stove or outside in an alley or any 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', 911 is the best place to get help.
  • A smoke detector, carbon monoxide or fire alarm is going off
  • You smell smoke or gas

Call 911 for the Police when:

  • You see any type of crime in progress. Crimes include driving impaired, assault, domestic violence, painting graffiti, or any crime that is happening now.
  • If you are concerned for someone’s safety or well being

When you call 911


Know your location

The most important piece of information we need when someone calls 911 is the address of the emergency. Addresses come in many forms including a proper street address, but emergencies might not be at a physical address or you might not know the address. When you call 911, a call-taker can enter an address as an intersection of two streets, or a commonplace name such as a school, mall, hospital, business or landmark. On Calgary’s pathways, there are special signs that contain a set of letters and numbers. These signs are called emergency locators and will map to an exact location.

When you call 911 from a cell phone, we receive an approximate location based on data provided from the cell phone including GPS. The accuracy of that location can vary based on a number of factors. This is why it’s important to provide us with an address or details of where the emergency may be.

What questions might 911 ask you?

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​We need to know where the emergency is. Calgary 911 answers calls for Calgary, as well as many surrounding communities.  We want to direct the call appropriately.

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​Which service you require determines what happens next. The call-taker will either continue asking questions or transfer you to the appropriate responding agency.  It’s okay if you don’t know who you need to attend an emergency, we will help determine that.

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​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.

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

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​The Emergency Communications Officer you are speaking to is working to get emergency responders to you as quickly as possible. They will ask you key questions that will provide first responders with details. Asking these questions will not delay help, the help you need is dispatched typically while we are still talking to you.

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