Making the Right Call
When someone dials 9-1-1 it’s for a medical or fire emergency, or a crime in progress. These are very serious and scary situations, and our City’s 9-1-1 dispatchers are experts at sending the right kind of help to the right location–fast.
But sometimes people call 9-1-1 for things that are not emergencies, like reporting stolen property or someone loitering. Although these types of situations are serious and should be reported, calling 9-1-1 for non-life and non-property threatening situations ties up our 9-1-1 phone lines and makes it harder for real emergency calls to get through. So, if you need Police assistance but are not experiencing a crime in progress, please call the San Francisco Police Department’s non-emergency phone line: 415-553-0123. Please note that this line is answered as quickly as possible—after calls to 9-1-1. If your call is not answered immediately, it’s because our 9-1-1 dispatchers are handling priority emergency medical, fire, or criminal activity calls that can result in lives being saved and crimes being stopped.
From time to time our City’s 9-1-1 dispatchers also receive calls for things that are not emergencies like reporting a blocked driveway or how to access a City service. For these circumstances, it’s best to dial 3-1-1 where expert staff can provide information on a variety of non-emergency City services, both over the phone and on the 311 app. And just like 9-1-1 and 415-553-0123, they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Before you dial 9-1-1 keep in mind the nature of your call. Is it an emergency that requires immediate medical, fire, or police response? If so, or even if you’re not sure, dial 9-1-1. Is it something that should be reported to the Police but is not a crime in progress? Then please call the San Francisco Police Department non-emergency line at 415-553-0123. And if you have general questions or need to report a situation needing city services, call 3-1-1. You could be saving someone’s life by making the right call when it comes to dialing 9-1-1.
The San Francisco 9-1-1 Dispatch Center is a division within the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, which leads the City in planning, preparedness, communication, response, and recovery for daily emergencies, large-scale citywide events, and major disasters. To learn more about the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management visit http://www.sfdem.org.