What to Tell 911

Tell us the emergency

  • Take a deep breath before speaking. We are here to help.  
  • Briefly say what type of emergency (police, fire, or medical).
  • "I need to report a fire...." or "I need to report a break-in at my home..." 
  • For interpretation, say in English what type of emergency (police, fire, or medical) and what language you speak. The Call Taker will conference the call with an interpreter.

Let the 911 Call Taker ask the questions 

  • Call Takers are trained to gather information quickly and determine how best to help.
  • Let them lead the conversation and answer their questions. 
  • The questions may seem unrelated or repetitive, but this is to help clarify the information.  
  • If it is not safe for you to stay on the phone, let the Call Taker know this immediately.

You will be asked

  • WHERE did this occur? 
  • WHAT happened? 
  • WHEN did this occur? Is the event still in progress? 

Describe the location

  • An exact street address is best. If not, look at addresses on nearby buildings or street signs. 
  • If you are driving, please note the road, highway, or landmarks near your location.

Stay on the line if you can

  • Stay on the line until the 911 Call Taker tells you they have all the information needed.  
  • They may ask you to stay on the phone until help arrives to gather additional information. 

If you misdial - don't hang up

  • If you misdial and accidentally call 911, DO NOT hang up! Wait until your call is answered and explain that you misdialed.

Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE)

Acting Chief Amy Smith
Mailing Address: PO Box 94607, Seattle, WA, 98124-6907
Phone: (206) 625-5011 (For non-emergencies)
Contact CARE

Learn about CARE, Seattle’s 911 Center that provides emergency and non-emergency responses.