911 FAQs

Should 911 be used for emergencies and non-emergencies?

In an emergency: Call 911 to report a crime in progress, a fire, a serious illness or injury or any situation requiring immediate response of the police, fire or ambulance services. 

In a non-emergency: Call 911 when you have a less threatening situation which requires a non-immediate response from police, fire or ambulance such as noise/parking/traffic complaints.

More Information

What if 911 is called accidentally?

If you realize you have accidentally called 911, please stay on the line until the call taker answers.  You will save the call taker several valuable minutes by explaining that you accidentally dialed the wrong number rather than the call taker having to call you back to see if there's a problem.

Does 911 receive text messages?

Text-to-911 comes with challenges. For instance, emergency response may be lengthened due to the time it takes for a text to 911 to be typed and sent. Delivery of texts and speed of delivery are also not guaranteed. Here are several reminders to ensure the best service and response from dispatchers. 

If there is an emergency and you cannot call 911, take these steps:

  • Enter the numbers 911 in the "To" field.
  • Text your exact address and type of emergency.
  • Send the message.
  • Use simple words, but do not include abbreviations, emoji’s, pictures or slang.
  • Promptly answer questions and follow instructions.

Dispatchers prefer calls so they can get cues from background noise and voice inflections. If you text 911, dispatchers will ask if you can safely place a phone call.

The new service should only be used in emergencies. Texting 911 with a false report is a crime. If you accidentally send a text to 911, send another text, or call 911 to let the dispatcher know that there is no emergency.

Remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t.

What does 911 need to know when called?

The Call Taker will ask many questions including:

  • The address where help is needed
  • The nature of the problem
  • Your name
  • Your phone number


In emergency or to file a report, call 911.

Duluth Sheriff's Office

Hibbing Sheriff's Office

Virginia Sheriff's Office

St. Louis County Jail

All contacts