9-1-1 is the universal telephone number designed for emergency situations. The 9-1-1 system provides residents with a quick and efficient way to get help when they need it most. Those requiring assistance can initiate police, fire or a medical response by simply picking up the phone and dialing 9-1-1.
The first priority of the operator that answers your call is to find out what type of emergency you are having. To do this the operator will ask a set of questions designed to gather the necessary information quickly. Each question asked by the operator is important and necessary to get you the help you need.
Based on your response to each question, the 9-1-1 operator will determine what type of assistance you need and connect you with either the Tucson Fire Department, in the event of a fire or medical emergency, or the Tucson Police Department if a crime is in progress.
Calling 9-1-1 is very easy; just pick up the phone and dial the number. Depending on the type of situation, the operator may need to ask for specific types of information. It might feel like the operator is asking too many questions but don’t be alarmed, this process will NOT delay the emergency response in any way. Instead, it will help determine the appropriate response or level of care needed to take care of your emergency. It is important to remember that help is on the way while the operator continues to gather information from you.
For most people, calling 911 is not an every day event and though an emergency situation may prove frightening you can help dispatchers help you, by answering all of the questions asked, staying calm, and speaking clearly. When calling 9-1-1 be prepared to give the following information:
Listen carefully, follow all of the operator’s instructions and don’t hang up the phone until instructed. After completing the call, wait at the scene until help arrives.
Since the system is so easy to use and always results in a fast response from highly trained professionals, many people call for situations that aren’t true emergencies. It is important for City of Tucson residents to understand that the 9-1-1 system is designed for emergency situations that are considered an immediate threat to life and/or property.
Using the system irresponsibly can make it more difficult for first responders to help those who truly need it. This can result in a delayed response to another 9-1-1 call that may be an actual emergency. Abuse of the 9-1-1 system is costly to taxpayers and a drain on public safety resources.
If you are unsure of what constitutes a real emergency use the chart below as a general guideline. If you are ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1.
When to Call 9-1-1
When to Call Your Physician
All work stations at the communications center are equipped with Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD). These devices allow typed (text) communication with the hearing and/or speech impaired.
If a caller doesn’t speak English, our center has Spanish-speaking operators on-duty most of the time that can take your call. However, if there is no one available (or the caller speaks a language other than Spanish), our center has access to Language Line Services that provide 24 hrs/day over-the-phone interpretation of over 175 different languages. The process of getting an interpreter on the phone with the caller usually takes less than one minute.