Calling 9-1-1: Fairfax Prepares Day 21

Posted 3:42 p.m.

day 21 iconIt may seem obvious – call 9-1-1 for an emergency.

But in a high-stress situation, do you know what information is needed? Is your home clearly marked. Do you know the public safety non-emergency phone number?

Here are a few tips to consider when calling 9-1-1:

  1. Use 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
  2. Stay calm and help the call taker help you.
  3. Determine the location of the emergency, if possible, before you call.
  4. Texting 9-1-1 is NOT an option; you must dial 9-1-1 and speak with a call taker.
  5. Teach your children how to call 9-1-1.
  6. Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still dial 9-1-1.
  7. If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the call taker that you do not have an emergency.
  8. Post your home address clearly and prominently so first responders can find you.
  9. Pull over when driving, if possible. This reduces the chance of a dropped call.
  10. Tips for non-English callers and hearing or speech-impaired callers.

9-1-1 dispatchersWe receive more than 1 million 9-1-1 calls a year. Hopefully you don’t have to call, but if you do, make sure it’s an emergency. If you’re not sure, call 9-1-1, but if it’s clearly a non-emergency, then call the non-emergency number.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: 9-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number, but you can help reduce unnecessary calls if your situation is not an emergency. This weekend, add a new contact to your phones for the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at that you accomplished an ask.


  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

9 responses to “Calling 9-1-1: Fairfax Prepares Day 21”

  1. Leslie says :

    Day 21: regarding item #7, please add why not to just hang up, but to let the dispatcher know it was not an emergency call: 911 will DISPATCH to the phone/location anyway, in case the caller is unable to speak. Save people’s lives by preventing this unnecessary dispatch. Thx.

    • Jeanne says :

      Thank you for adding this important information! I have two toddlers and if one of them ever accidentally calls 911, I now know why it’s so important to hold on and let dispatch know it was a mistake (didn’t know they would send dispatch out otherwise…but I’m glad they do that!).

  2. Flora/Jerri Lyn (@florajl) says :

    Just updated my Blackberry!

  3. Randy Allen says :

    Yes, what Leslie says above. Always give reasons when you say to do something or not to do something. Give people enough information to understand the rationale.

    We’ve done this.

  4. Bonnie says :

    I did this- non-emergency number now in my contacts list.

  5. Constance Fullerton says :


  6. Jeanne says :

    Just added the non-emergency number to my contacts (and favorites). Thanks!