Calling 9-1-1

When should I call 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is for emergencies only. You should only dial 9-1-1:

  • To report a crime or a suspicious person or package
  • To assist someone who is injured and needs help
  • If you smell smoke or see a fire
  • If you or someone else is having a medical emergency
  • To report bodily injury to yourself or someone else
  • If you suspect a crime is taking place

If you aren’t sure if your situation is an emergency, you should err of the side of safety and call 9-1-1. The dispatcher who answers your call make the decision whether to send help or not.

What will the 9-1-1 Dispatcher want to know?

  • Where the situation is occurring
  • What is happening
  • When the incident occurred
  • Who is involved
  • Was a weapon used
  • If anyone is injured

Even though we are asking you a lot of questions, services are on the way. We may keep you on the call to gather more information, even after we dispatch police, fire, or medical help to your location. Do not hang up!

What if I accidentally call 9-1-1?

Do not hang up! Stay on the call to tell the dispatcher that everything is okay. Otherwise, the dispatcher may think something is wrong and send a police officer.

Sometimes 9-1-1 calls are placed as the result of accidental dialing. Make sure you “Lock it Before You Pocket” to avoid placing unintentional 9-1-1 calls from your cell phone.

What if I need help but it's not an emergency?

You can contact our Dispatch Center at the non-emergency hotline: 562-435-6711. 

If you are not sure whether or not the situation is an emergency or a non-emergency, you can always call 9-1-1.

What if I speak a language other than English?

Translators in over 150 languages are available to assist residents who do not speak English.

What if I am speech-impaired or hearing impaired?

9-1-1 equipment is TTY enabled for the deaf and hearing impaired. Using Text-to-911 is also an option.

What happens when I call from a cellular phone?

Dispatchers can be contacted from pretty much every device that can make phone calls, including traditional landline, cell and VoIP.

The City of Long Beach utilizes a cloud-based mapping and analytics service provider, RapidDeploy, to improve location accuracy for 9-1-1 calls made from wireless devices. 9-1-1 dispatchers are able to accurately locate wireless callers so they can quickly dispatch Emergency Medical, Police or Fire first responders, even if the calling party does not know their location and/or are unable to provide the necessary information.