Annual Theme & Messages

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.

2015 Campaign Theme:

With the introduction of text-to-9-1-1 service in various cities and counties across the nation, the National Education Coalition is encouraging National 9-1-1 Education Month focus on the following theme:

  • 9-1-1: Call if you can, text if you can’t.  Because texting to 9-1-1 is not available in most areas, your local 9-1-1 call center may not be able to accept text messages.   You may check with your local 9-1-1 center or the FCC to see if texting is available in your 9-1-1 call center. Even if text-to-9-1-1 is available, a voice call continues to be the best way to reach 9-1-1.

View additional messages from the NENA NG9-1-1 Education and Training Work Group

Because text-to-9-1-1 has limited availability nationwide, additional messages available to support local efforts 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.
  • Know How To Use 9-1-1 With The Phone You Own: Your home phone provides your street address.  Your cell phone provides coordinates for the 911 call taker, so know where you are.
  • 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.
  • For more information on how your phone delivers location information to 911, go to
  • 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.