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. 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 alarm, 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
What questions might 911 ask you?
Explain briefly what the situation is and what sort of emergency service you need. You do not need to provide the full details at this point. The Emergency Communications Officer you are speaking to will assess what emergency service is required and connect you as soon as possible. You will be asked later to provide more details on the situation as necessary.
Provide the location of the emergency incident. Calgary 911 answers calls for Calgary, as well as many surrounding communities. We will then connect you with the appropriate agency who will dispatch help to you.
The Emergency Communications Officers are required to ask this even in a Fire or Medical situation, to assess if Police are needed first. This will not delay other help also being sent, but ensures the safety of everyone involved, including the first responders. Please answer yes or no to this question and provide some information if your safety is in danger at all.
At this point, you will then get connected to the appropriate agency. Please be prepared to provide them the exact location of the emergency incident and your phone number. Each agency will then proceed with specific key questions to help determine the situation and provide you with critical instructions.
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.
Calling 911 after being involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident in the City of Calgary
If you have been involved in Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) and have dialed 911, in addition to the standard questions above, the Emergency Communication Officer will ask you the following questions:
- Are there any injuries – If yes, or if you are unsure/do not know, an event will be created to have Fire, EMS and Police attend. The Emergency Communications Officer will ask you some specific questions and provide you with critical instructions. If there are no injuries, they will proceed to the next question
- Are there any fluids leaking, debris or other hazards – If Yes, an event will be created to have Fire and Police attend.
If the answer is no to both these questions, the ECO will then ask:
- Are all drives on scene and being cooperative?
- Does anyone appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- Are the vehicles drivable?
- Are there any vehicles blocking or impeding traffic?
- Can the vehicles be moved to a safe location?
- Does everyone have valid documentation (e.g. insurance and drivers license)?
Depending on the answer to the above questions, the ECO will then bring Police on the line, or will advise you:
“Based on the information you have provided Police do not need to attend. Please exchange driver’s license, insurance and registration information, and location of incident with the other driver(s). If the combined damage exceeds $2000 you will need to call a police district office to determine the next steps. Please call us back if anything changes.”