When should I call 911?
You should call 911 when:
- You are a witness or victim of a crime in progress or one that has just occurred.
- If you witness or are involved in an injury auto accident.
- If you experience or see someone having a medical emergency.
- If you see fire or smoke.
- Whenever you witness or are involved in a potentially dangerous situation.
If you're ever in doubt that something happening is an actual emergency and you're not sure if you should call 911, don't hesitate to call 911. We can help you determine if a response is needed.
When should I call the non-emergency number?
Do not call 9-1-1 if a person or property is not in immediate danger. You may call the non-emergency number if you need to report something that occurred earlier that day, days before, or even weeks before. You can also call the non-emergency number if you need a report for insurance purposes. The Ingham County 9-1-1 non-emergency phone number is 517-272-6026.
What is "enhanced" or E911?
Enhanced or E911 means that our Center has a link to the phone company that provides both the address and the phone number for the calling party, if you are calling from a landline phone.
If you have my address and phone number why do you ask me for it?
Technology is wonderful, but it is not infallible. It can make mistakes, so we ask questions to make sure we have the correct address information. Also, sometimes people call for help from a neighbor's house and we do not want to send help to the wrong address.
Why do you ask so many questions when I call 911?
It may seem like we are wasting time, but we follow a proven set of important questions designed to provide emergency responders with the information they need to prepare to respond to your call. The more information we have the more quickly and efficiently we can help you. In an emergency we will start emergency responders on their way while we continue asking you questions.
Why do I have to stay on the phone?
We keep you on the phone so you can assist us by telling us what is happening or if there has been a change in the situation or the location of the incident. Sometimes we keep you on the phone so that we can give you instructions on how to help the victim until help arrives. Staying on the phone with us does not delay the response of police, fire, or EMS units.
What happens when I call 911 from my cell phone?
If you dial 911 from your cell phone in Ingham County your call should ring in to our Center. If you are in any other county, it will go to the closest 911 Center based on the receiving cell phone tower location. Cell phones do not provide the same type of information to the dispatchers that landline phones do. Depending on the technology used by your cell provider and the age of your phone we may have an approximate location for you based on the latitude and longitude provided by the phone, but we may only have the address of the cell tower that received your call. This is why you must stay on the line and be prepared to give the dispatcher your location. If you call from the edges of Ingham County and are connected with one of our neighboring Centers, they will transfer you to the correct jurisdiction.
Should I program 911 into my phone's speed dial?
No. Putting 9-1-1 in your speed dial can result in needless accidental calls to 9-1-1.
What happens if I call 911 accidentally?
Please stay on the phone until the dispatcher answers and then explain what happened. If you hang up without talking to the dispatcher, they will try to call you back to verify that you do not have an emergency. If you cannot be reached a police officer will be dispatched to your home or business to confirm that everything is fine.
Can I test 911?
No. Please do not dial 911 and tell us that you are testing the system. If you do this you may be taking valuable time away from someone else who has an actual emergency and needs immediate assistance.
Can I send a text message to 911?
Yes. It is now possible in Ingham County to use a cell phone to send a text message to 911. This means if you are unable to make a voice 911 call, you can use your cell phone to text your emergency to 911. However, if you are safely able to make a voice call to 911, you should always do that instead of texting. Please see our Text to 911 page for more information.
Can I still call 911 if I have a VoIP phone?
If you have Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service through a provider like Comcast, Vonage, or Magic Jack you may not be able to access 911 in the traditional way. VoIP calls may not connect to your local 911 Center; they may instead route to a central answering point (possibly out of state) not staffed by trained 911 dispatchers. The calls may be routed to non-emergency administrative lines that will not display your phone number or location information. The calls may also be correctly routed to a 911 line and still not display the phone number and location information. Your VoIP phone may not work during a power outage or if the internet is down. If you travel to another city or state, you must call your VoIP provider and update your location information in order for your 911 calls to be properly routed.
Can I call 911 using a TTY or TTDD?
Yes. The Ingham County 911 system is TTY or TDD compatible for those who are speech or hearing impaired.
Should I call 911 to report my power is out?
The police or fire department was just at my neighbor's house, can I call 911 to find out what happened?
No. This will tie up a 911 operator and possibly delay a response to someone else's emergency. 911 staff are not allowed to provide you with this information.
What should I tell my child about calling 911?
Teach your children how to call 911. Make sure they know their address, phone number, name, and the names of their parents. Teach them to stay on the phone and answer all of the dispatcher's questions until they are told by the dispatcher to hang up. Visit http://911forkids.com/ for helpful information on teaching your child about 911.
Tornado sirens are going off, can I call 911 to get an update on the tornado?
No. Do not call 911 if you hear tornado sirens. If the sirens are going off it means a tornado or a severe thunderstorm with 70 mph or greater winds has been sighted. Take cover and turn on your TV or radio to stay informed.