911 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when lives are in danger, immediate action is required or there is a crime in progress. 911 call-takers cannot provide information on the weather, power outages, municipal services, seasonal time change, or to call a tow truck or taxi. Don’t call 911 and ask for the ‘non-emergency’ phone number. Those numbers are located in the front pages of your phone book. You can also call directory assistance and retrieve any number.
Please use 911 responsibly – it is not an information line.
When to call 9-1-1
9-1-1 is for emergencies where health, safety or property is in immediate jeopardy, or there is a crime in progress.
Call 9-1-1 when:
- There is an immediate threat to person or property, such as assaults, armed robbery, gunshots, fire, car accident with injuries, medical emergencies, etc.
- There is a crime in progress: fights, domestic violence, breaking and entering, witnessing impaired driving.
- You see suspicious activity that indicates imminent criminal act: prowler, stalking, vandalism.
*If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Emergency call-takers will help determine if immediate action is required or if you should hang-up and dial a non-emergency line.
Location! Location! Location!
- Know your civic address; it may differ from your mailing address.
- For rural areas, know your rural address, noted on your driveway sign. This is the quickest way for emergency responders to find you.
- When traveling on highways be aware of intersection signs indicating your location.
- If you call 9-1-1 from your cellular phone, be prepared to give your location.
- For Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, your location does not automatically appear for the call taker. You must provide your location.
Get help fast, know your location when calling 9-1-1
Alberta 9-1-1 Program
- The 9-1-1 Program strives to strengthen and support the delivery of local 9-1-1 services throughout the province of Alberta.
- The 9-1-1 Program falls under the Emergency 911 Act.
Remain calm and speak clearly and be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What is your emergency?
- Do you need fire, police, or ambulance?
- What town or city are you calling from?
- What is your exact address and/or closest major intersection?
- What is your name and telephone number?
- Are you safe?
DO NOT HANG UP until the call-taker tells you to do so. The call-taker will dispatch the emergency service you require and may ask you for more information or provide instructions. Sometimes when the call-taker needs to transfer you to another emergency service there may be a slight delay while the call is connected.
If you hang up or the call is dropped, the call-taker will attempt to call you back.
Help Prevent Accidental 9-1-1 calls
Hundreds of unintended 9-1-1 calls occur every day, from pocket dials or accidental calls. Please follow these simple tips to help prevent them:
- Protect your cell phone by locking and storing it carefully.
- Keep it in a safe position when not in use and use a case or holster to protect it.
- Don’t program 9-1-1 into any telephone — speed dials cause accidental 9-1-1 calls.
- Please do not test 9-1-1 to see if it’s working.
- Do not let children play with old cell phones. Even unregistered phones can call 9-1-1.
If you dial 9-1-1 accidentally
- Stay on the line. Do not hang up.
- Explain that the call was made by mistake. If call-takers have any concern for your safety or feel there are suspicious circumstances, they will send police to check on you.
A frivolous call is any 9-1-1 call deliberately made to waste time or abuse the staff or service in non-emergency situations. These are a serious offense.
- $5,000 maximum fine for first-time offenders.
- $10,000 maximum fine for repeat offenders.
Text with 9-1-1
What is Text with 9-1-1 and Who Does it Serve?
Text with 9-1-1 is for deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired persons to communicate with 9-1-1 services using wireless-based text messaging.
How Does it Work?
The qualified individual must register for Text with 9-1-1 with their wireless service provider.
In an emergency, a registered individual should dial 9-1-1. They will not need to speak, as the call taker will receive an indicator that tells them to communicate with the caller via text messaging. The call taker then initiates text messaging with the caller to address the emergency. For more information or to register for Text with 9-1-1 visit textwith911.ca.
Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)
NG9-1-1 will modernize 9-1-1 networks to provide Canadians with access to new, enhanced and innovative 9-1-1 services. In the coming years, the 9-1-1 network will be upgraded, which could lead to new ways to contact 9-1-1.
- There are 21 9-1-1 call centres known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Alberta.
- 4.3 million 9-1-1 calls were made in Alberta last year.
- About 70% of 9-1-1 calls come from cell phones.
- To help fund 9-1-1 services there is a $0.44 monthly levy on cell phones.
- Through this levy, the Alberta 9-1-1 program granted out $15.9 million to Alberta’s PSAPs last year.
- 98% of Albertans have access to 9-1-1 services