Generally speaking, people are aware that they should call 911 in an emergency, but they are less aware of the circumstances in which they should not call 911. The result is that many requests to 911 do not involve true emergencies, which overloads the 911 system with non-emergency calls.
Not sure if you should call 911?
Because most people rarely face emergency situations and lack firsthand experience with 911, they may have unrealistic expectations about what will happen when they contact 911 for emergency assistance. For non-emergencies, call 706-344-3636.
What happens when you call 911?
Be prepared to provide the location of your emergency, not necessarily your home address. The 911 center will also need the number you are calling from in case your call gets dropped. The 911 operators will ask you a series of questions and provide next-step instructions. Your answers will determine the response made by our 911 team.
Can I text 911 for emergency assistance?
Access to 911 through text messaging is significantly limited across the United States, although efforts are underway to accept text messages at call centers nationwide. If you need emergency assistance, it is always best to call 911 from a landline or wireless phone. Even if text-to-911 services are available in your market, a voice call remains the best way to reach 911. If you send a text message to 911, and text-to-911 services are not available in your community, you should receive a bounceback message from the wireless provider telling you that the message was not delivered. Check here to see if text-to-911 services are available in your area.
What should I do if I accidentally dial 911?
If you dial 911 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 911 when no emergency exists, do not hang up—that could make 911 officials think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.
Can I dial 911 from a wireless phone without a wireless calling plan?
All wireless phones, even those that are not subscribed to or supported by a specific carrier, can be used to dial 911. These uninitialized phones are often used to place malicious or fake calls to 911 call centers. These calls are a burden on the 911 system because they require the answering center to confirm whether or not an emergency truly exists. Oftentimes, parents provide these uninitialized wireless phones as toys for young children, unaware that if the child dials 911, a live call will be connected with the local 911 call center. If a child dials 911 when no emergency exists, do not hang up—that could make 911 officials think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to the location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.
How can I prevent my child from accidentally dialing 911?
Teaching children appropriate use of the 911 system is as important as teaching them how to place a 911 call. A variety of resources are available to help parents and educators train children when and how to call 911. For more information, visit 911 for Kids. Parents should also be aware that wireless phones without a current calling plan through a wireless service provider are still capable of connecting a call to a local 911 center. Children should be told not to dial 911 from these old, or uninitialized phones with a charged battery, as a live call will be connected with the local 911 call center. If a child dials 911 when no emergency exists, do not hang up—that could make 911 officials think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to the location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.
How do I place a “test” call to make sure 911 works for me?
Test calls confirm that your local 911 service can receive your 911 call and has the correct location information. Test calls can be scheduled by contacting your local 911 call center via its non-emergency phone number. To find the non-emergency, 10-digit phone number for your local 911 call center, conduct an Internet search for the non-emergency number of the local law enforcement agency. The Dawson County non-emergency number is 706-344-3636. When you speak with law enforcement staff, explain that you do not have an emergency but would like to request the local 911 call center’s non-emergency 10-digit phone number.
How can I reach 911 in a different state, county, or city?
With a few exceptions, 911 calls cannot be transferred to other jurisdictions except between call centers within a county and between adjacent counties. The best option to obtain emergency assistance in a different state, county, or city is to dial the 10-digit phone number for law enforcement in the community where assistance is needed. Those numbers can be found on the local law enforcement agency’s web sites. For corporations interested in providing emergency assistance support to clients nationwide, a list of 911 call center 10-digit emergency phone numbers can be obtained by contacting the National Emergency Number Association.
How can I register my Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone for 911?
VoIP service allows users to place and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers using an Internet connection and can be used in place of traditional phone service. Because VoIP phones can be used anywhere an Internet connection is available, the 911 call center cannot locate callers unless the VoIP device is registered to a physical address through the VoIP provider. Anytime the VoIP phone is moved from one location to another, the owner should contact the provider to update the new physical location of the device. Learn more about VoIP devices from the FCC.
What are the 911 apps?
A number of private companies have developed and sell a variety of smartphone and computer applications intended to supplement the use of 911. Because 911 system capabilities vary across the United States, it is important that application developers have confirmed that their company/organization has the legal authority to contact 911 on a caller’s behalf. If you have any questions regarding the use of a particular app with the call center in your community, please contact the application provider directly, to ask questions about legal authority or the use of their application by a specific 911 call center.
COMMUNICATION ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Director Aleisha Rucker-Wright
706-344-3535 ext. 20341
Assistant Director Kristan Bean
706-344-3535 ext. 20121
American Red Cross
Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)
National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
National Weather Service (NWS)