Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network Offers 9-1-1 Tips

Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network Offers 9-1-1 Tips

September 28 2023

When an emergency happens, most residents know to call 9-1-1. But have you ever wondered if calling 9-1-1 was the proper course of action, or wondered what to do if you need to call 9-1-1 but you can't at that moment? Check out these potentially life saving tips about 9-1-1 including when to call, educating your children about 9-1-1 and texting 9-1-1.

When should you call 9-1-1?

Only contact 9-1-1 in an emergency situation. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or emergency medical services. 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 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

Examples of When to Call 9-1-1 Do Not Call 9-1-1
Medical emergencies For information
Heart attack or stroke When the power is out
House fire To report a broken fire hydrant
Domestic violence When your water pipes burst
Burglary or theft in progress To get a ride for doctor's appointment
Car accident with life threatening injuries For paying tickets
Suspicious activities For your pet
Anything else that seems like an emergency To report potholes in the road

Stay calm and remember these steps.

  • Every second counts in emergency. Don’t hesitate to contact 9-1-1 first during an emergency for police, fire or medical assistance.
  • Get to a safe location before calling. If you are calling to report a fire, exit the burning building before calling.
  • Stay calm and answer all questions about your emergency.
  • State what help you need: police, fire or EMS/medical.
  • State your address, describe your location as completely as possible using cross streets or landmarks.
  • Stay on the line — do not hang up until the operator says it’s OK.

Teach them - it may save a life.

Can your child dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency? Do they know how to unlock your phone? Do they know how to find the keypad? Do they have your home address and your phone number memorized? Do they know their parent's legal name(s)? Teach them. It may save a life. 
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Texting 9-1-1

Text-to-9-1-1 is a valuable service to be used in an emergency situation when it is not possible to make a voice call. Voice calls are still the best and fastest way to contact 9-1-1. Texting is recommended ONLY when you cannot make a voice call, which includes those who are are deaf/hard-of-hearing or speech impaired, in a medical emergency that renders speech, or when it is not safe to talk. 

To text 9-1-1, enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field. The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include the location of the emergency, and ask for police, fire or medical help. Then, push the “Send” button and answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker. Remember to text in simple words – no abbreviations or slang.

GHC 9-1-1 territory and some parts of the U.S. for subscribers of all four major wireless carriers and resellers of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will get a reply to contact 9-1-1 by voice or relay services. To find out more about text to 9-1-1 coverage areas check with the FCC or your local authorities ( Only subscribers with an active text or data plan can send to text-to-9-1-1. 

For those who are deaf or hear of hearing, watch this brief introduction video created by the Texas School for Deaf. Created for nationwide distribution, the following videos explain how text‑to‑9‑1‑1 works in areas that have the service as well as what happens in those areas where it is currently not available. These videos are in ASL, captioned, include voice over narration and audio descriptions.

Source: GHC 9-1-1

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