Calling 9-1-1

Emergency Calls

9-1-1 is the emergency number to use when you need prompt, urgent help from firefighters, paramedics or law enforcement.

Call 9-1-1 to report:

  • A fire
  • A serious injury or medical condition
  • A crime in progress or when a serious crime has just occurred
  • An event happens that poses or indicates an immediate threat to people or property (such as screaming or gunshots)
  • A suspicious package
  • The following types of threats: bomb, radiological, biological and chemical

When you call 9-1-1:
Calmly and clearly answer the dispatcher's questions. You may be asked:

  • What is the emergency?
  • Who needs help?
  • Where are you? This is especially important if you are calling from a cell phone.
  • When did it happen?
  • What is your name and phone number?
  • Who is with you?

Stay on the line until the 9-1-1 dispatcher says it is okay to hang up.

Do not hang up if you dial 9-1-1 by accident. Tell the dispatcher your call was in error and that there is no emergency; otherwise, an officer may be sent to see if everything is okay.

When you're on a cell phone:
Calls from a cell phone in Santa Barbara County may be routed to the California Highway Patrol, and may not display some information for the 9-1-1 call taker the way calls from a land line do. That can result in a response delay.