Frequently Asked Questions

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When should I call 911?


911 is for emergencies or things that could become emergencies.

Is there a threat to life or property?

  • Are you or someone else the victim of a crime?
  • Do you have a police emergency?
  • Do you or someone else have a medical emergency?
  • Do you need the fire department?

If the situation seems urgent and has the potential to become dangerous, call 911. Dispatchers will determine whether your call should be handled by 911 or can be transferred to another person or agency. All other calls should be directed to our non-emergency number: 304-725-8484.

Why do the dispatchers ask so many question when I call 911?


Emergency dispatchers need to get accurate information to allow officers to make the best decision on how to approach the situation. Dispatchers handling fire and paramedic calls must also consider the well-being of the public and the safety of the firefighters and paramedics. Callers will be asked:

  • Where
  • What
  • Who
  • When
  • (maybe) Why

The information you provide a dispatcher is relayed to responding officers, paramedics or firefighters while they are on their way to the call.

What if a 9-1-1 caller doesn't speak English?

When necessary, a 9-1-1 call taker can add an interpreter from an outside service to the line. A non-English speaking caller may hear a short conversation in English and some clicking sounds as the interpreter is added to the line.

What if a 9-1-1 caller is Deaf, or hearing/speech impaired?

Communications centers that answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones for responding to 9-1-1 calls from Deaf or hearing/speech impaired callers.

  • If a caller uses a TTY/TDD, the caller should:
  • Stay calm, place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 9-1-1.
  • After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
  • 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 is needed-police, fire department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.
  • Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker's questions.

If a Deaf or hearing/speech impaired caller doesn't have a TTY/TDD, the caller should call 9-1-1 and don't hang up. Not hanging up leaves the line open. With most 9-1-1 calls, the caller's address is displayed on the call taker's screen and help will be sent.