2023 Total Answered 9-1-1 Calls in the NCT9-1-1 Service Area

Every day, in communities across the country, 9-1-1 is the first response in emergencies. When you call 9-1-1, highly trained 9-1-1 telecommunicators are there to answer your call, gather crucial information, and dispatch help. But 9-1-1 is more than just a number. It’s a lifeline, connecting you to the help you need when every second counts. Knowing when to call and what information to provide can make a real difference in an emergency.

What is 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the number most people in the U.S. and some in international countries call to get help in a police, fire, or medical emergency. This call goes over dedicated networks to the appropriate 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for the caller’s location, where trained personnel send the needed emergency help. If you are located within the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) service area, you can view your local ECCs here.

When should you contact 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It’s better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 telecommunicator determine if you need emergency assistance.

For non-emergency calls, please contact your local ECC’s 10-digit non-emergency number. You can find a list of non-emergency numbers within the NCT9-1-1 service area here.

How do you make a 9-1-1 call?

  • In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 on your phone. It’s a free call. You can use any kind of phone: push button, rotary, cellular/wireless, cordless, or pay phone. (With some pay phones, you may need coins to get a dial tone)
  • Stay calm and state your emergency
  • Speak loudly and clearly. Give the 9-1-1 telecommunicator your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.
  • Answer the call taker’s questions. Stay on the telephone if it’s safe to do so, and don’t hang up until the call taker tells you to.

Who pays for 9-1-1?

Each household and business pays a small monthly fee for 9-1-1 service, appearing on their phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 9-1-1. However, EMS/ambulances dispatched through 9-1-1 may charge for taking someone to the hospital; this is a separate ambulance charge, not a 9-1-1 charge.

Do not call 9-1-1:

  • for information
  • for directory assistance
  • when you’re bored and just want to talk
  • for paying traffic tickets
  • for your pet
  • as a prank

What if I accidentally call?

If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the 9-1-1 telecommunicator what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency. Additionally, do not prank call 9-1-1. Prank calls waste time and money and can be dangerous. In most places, it’s against the law to make prank 9-1-1 calls.

Language and Accessibility: 

9-1-1 telecommunicators can add an interpreter for non-English speakers and are trained to answer calls from persons who are Deaf, Deaf/Blind, hard of hearing, or speech impaired.

If you use a TTY/TDD, you should:

  • Stay calm, using your TTY dial 9-1-1.
  • You may receive a quicker response from 9-1-1 by pressing any of the TTY keys a few times.
  • Give the call taker time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again. The 9-1-1 call taker should answer and type “GA” for Go Ahead.
  • Tell what type of help is needed-police, fire department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address or location where help is needed.
  • Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the 9-1-1 telecommunicator’s questions.

If you use a VRS (Video Relay Service) or IP (Internet Protocol) Relay, you should:

  • Register and provide your address with the relay provider of your choice.
  • Keep your address updated.
  • Be aware that relay calls may take several minutes to connect.
  • If you hang up, your call may not be connected to 9-1-1.
  • Be prepared to provide your location information using an address, cross streets or landmarks, especially if you are not at your registered location.
  • Your call may need to be transferred to reach the correct 9-1-1 ECC.
  • Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker’s questions.

If you do not have a TTY/TDD or access to relay services, you should dial 9-1-1, preferably from a landline phone. With 9-1-1 calls made from a landline phone, the caller’s address is displayed on the 9-1-1 telecommunicator’s screen. Do not hang up; keep the line open so that the call taker can listen for background noise. If you must call from a cell phone, leave the line open. Call from cell phones may display your approximate location.

Can I text 9-1-1?

Texting 9-1-1 is available within NCT9-1-1’s service area, as well as across several other districts in Texas. However, texting to 9-1-1 is not available in most areas across the United States.

The 9-1-1 industry is committed to working with wireless carriers and the FCC to implement texting to 9-1-1 throughout the country in the next few years. You may check with your local 9-1-1 ECC to see if it is available in your area.

Texting should only be used when you are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1.

Here are a few things to know if you need to text an emergency to 9-1-1:

  • Text location information is not as robust as current location technology.
  • The first thing 9-1-1 needs to know is location and type of help needed.
  • Text in full words if possible.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 telecommunicator.
  • Like all text messages, messages can take longer to receive, messages can get out of order or your message may not be received at all.
  • If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area or is temporarily unavailable you should receive a message on your phone to indicate that the text was not received by 9-1-1.

To read more about 9-1-1, check out our blog section here.

The information in this comprehensive guide is provided in part by the National Emergency Number AssociationTarrant 9-1-1 District, Denco Area 9-1-1 District, Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network, and the NENA Public Education & PSAP Training Committee.