Message Guidelines

The 9-1-1: The Number to Know Campaign is broad by design and is intended to work in conjunction with local outreach efforts and messaging, from general 9-1-1 information to specific themes.

2014 Campaign Theme:

The National 9-1-1 Education Coalition will continue to promote the theme “BE 9-1-1 READY” for the 2014 Education/Awareness outreach campaign for National 9-1-1 Education Month.

Encourage your citizens and communities to understand that being ready to call 911 will help 911 provide the assistance they need quickly and correctly.

Key messages that should be considered include:

  • Know Where You Are: Where are you right now?  Could you tell 9-1-1 exactly where to find you?
  • 911:  Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t:  Your local 9-1-1 may not be able to accept text messages, photos and video.  A voice call continues to be the best way to reach 9-1-1.
  • Use a Landline:  Whenever possible, use a landline to call     9-1-1.   Cell phone calls aren’t always routed to the closest call center and the time it takes to transfer your call to the call center.
  • Stay Calm & Ready to Listen:  9-1-1 is here to help you through until help arrives.  Be ready to listen and follow directions.

Additional Sample Key Messages

  • When calling 9-1-1, one of the first things you’ll be asked to provide is the location of the emergency you’re reporting.
  • The call taker may not automatically know your location or may ask you to confirm it.
  • Tell the call taker the location of the emergency. Provide landmarks such as cross streets and mileposts.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

Know your cell well

  • The current 9-1-1 system is designed for voice communications only.
  • Texting 9-1-1 is not an option in most locales; you must dial 9-1-1 and speak with a call taker.
  • Lock your keypad when you’re not using your phone, so 9-1-1 isn’t dialed by mistake. For the same reason, don’t put 9-1-1 on speed dial.
  • Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still call 9-1-1.
  • If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the receiver that you do not have an emergency.

9-1-1 is for emergency use only

  • Call 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
  • It is appropriate to call 9-1-1 when you need to save a life, stop a crime or report a fire.
  • 9-1-1 is the right number to call in an emergency when a prompt response is needed.

Know how to use 9-1-1 with the phone you own

  • Before you need help in an emergency, be sure to understand how the type of phone you use affects your call to 9-1-1.
  • Cell phones may not automatically tell 9-1-1 where you are.
  • Know the capabilities of the device you are using (landline, cellular, VoIP) when calling 9-1-1.

Remain calm, be prepared

  • Try to stay calm, listen carefully, give information and follow all instructions.
  • In an emergency, seconds matter, so being knowledgeable and prepared can make all the difference.
  • Knowing when to call and what to expect when you phone 9-1-1 can help reduce fear and feelings of helplessness in an emergency.

Help 9-1-1 help you

  • The more you know what to expect when you call 9-1-1, the faster 9-1-1 can get you the help you need.
  • If you dial 9-1-1 for a non-emergency matter, you are tying up resources that could be needed in a real emergency.
  • You can save a life! Follow all instructions the 9-1-1 call taker gives you, and don’t hang up until the call taker does.