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When to Call 911


Picture of telephone and 9 1 1

What is 9-1-1?

For emergency assistance, dial 9-1-1 on your telephone.  An operator will answer your call and request which service is required.  You will then be connected to either the police, fire or ambulance service in your area.  Please stay on the line until told to hang up.  Let the operator control the conversation and answer all questions as best you can.  In emergency situations, help is on the way as you are giving the information.

Members of the deaf, hearing impaired and speech impaired community should be aware that the current technology will not permit direct calls from a virtual (software based) TTY device to 911 at this time. Members of the community should not rely on calling 911 directly with a virtual TTY device.

What is an Emergency?

A situation where the safety of people or property is at risk. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies include: a fire; crime in progress; or a medical crisis.

What is NOT an Emergency

It is not an emergency when immediate action is not necessary. Examples of a non-emergency situation include: an automobile accident where an injury has not occurred; after a crime has been committed and you believe that the offender has left the scene; and a follow-up on an auto theft report. If the emergency is not life threatening or dangerous then call our non-emergency line.

How to Use 9-1-1

To make the service work best for you: At home dial 9-1-1 . Do not pre-program 9-1-1 into your telephone, this can cause dialing problems if the battery is low on cordless phones or the button is hit accidentally. At a business or other locations you may need to dial an outside line before dialing 9-1-1. At a pay phone dial 9-1-1, a coin is not necessary. When using a cellular phone you must specify that you are using such and be prepared to give your location, including the city or town.

If you call 9-1-1 remain calm. If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, please remain on the line and explain to the call taker that no emergency exists.   If you don't, call takers and emergency personnel are forced to waste valuable time and resources tracking you down to confirm that no emergency exists.

For Non-Emergencies

For non-emergency calls or for general information, do not dial 9-1-1.  Use the Niagara Regional Police Service number for your area and follow the instructions given by the automated attendant:

  • For St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, and Thorold, call 905- 688-4111
  • For Fort Erie, call 905- 871-2300
  • For Pelham, call 905- 735-7811
  • For Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln, call 905- 945-2211
  • For Welland, Wainfleet and Port Colborne, call 905- 735-7811
  • Callers with a TTY, a text telephone device that is used by the hearing or speech impaired, can call 905-688-1466.