Calling 9-1-1

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If you have an emergency and are in immediate need of police, fire or medical assistance, dial 9-1-1.  A 9-1-1 Dispatcher will answer your call and send the help that you need.  Emergencies may include fires, crimes, motor vehicle accidents, a medical crisis or situations in which someone is hurt or in danger.  Do NOT call 9-1-1 for directions or help in locating an address, or for obtaining information that could be acquired by other means.  Inappropriate use of the 9-1-1 system ties up the phone lines at the 9-1-1 center and wastes time and valuable resources, taking the dispatcher’s focus away from the people who have legitimate emergencies.

If you are unsure whether your situation is a true emergency, we encourage you to err on the side of safety and dial 9-1-1 anyway.  Our dispatchers will still assist you-by either sending help or if it’s a non-emergency situation, pointing you in the right direction to get the assistance you need.  If you know your situation is not an emergency but still need help, please call our non-emergency number at (570)992-9911.

The Monroe County Control Center (9-1-1) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  When you dial 9-1-1 in Monroe County, you will always get a “live” person on the other end, not an automated recording.  When you dial 9-1-1, be prepared to answer a series of questions.  The questions a dispatcher may ask:

  • ADDRESS or LOCATION of your emergency.
    This is the most important thing to know.  9-1-1 can not send help if they do not know where you are.  Dispatchers in Monroe County answer the phone “9-1-1, where is your emergency?”  This is a clue for the caller to provide the street address and/or location of their emergency.  Please include the township or municipality with the address.  Know where you are at all times.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  You never know when the need to call 9-1-1 might arise, and you would be surprised at how many adults call 9-1-1 to report an emergency and don’t know where they are.
  • Your NAME
  • The PHONE NUMBER that you are calling from.
    Medical emergency questions would include type of injuries or illness and symptoms. Fire emergency questions would determine what is on fire, if anyone is trapped or injured or if there were any hazards present.  Police emergency questions include getting descriptions for suspects of a crime, asking about weapons and injuries.

Keep in mind that while it might seem like a lot of questions when you’re in the middle of your emergency, the dispatchers need to ask these questions so they can send the right kind of help to you quickly!  During your 9-1-1 call, make sure to:

  • ANSWER ALL OF THE QUESTIONS to the best of your ability.
  • BE PREPARED to follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you.
    On medical calls, a dispatcher may provide you with Pre-Arrival Instructions, which are important medical directives to assist you in helping the patient until an ambulance arrives.
  • STAY ON THE LINE and DO NOT HANG UP until the dispatcher says it’s OK to do so.

If you dial 9-1-1 by mistake or you dial 9-1-1 and your situation resolved itself and you no longer need help, continue to stay on the line and DO NOT HANG UP!  The dispatcher will speak to you and will ask for your location and the reason for the call.  Police typically will be notified-this is for YOUR SAFETY.

You can call 9-1-1 from a:


The majority of 9-1-1 phone calls we receive in Monroe County originate from a cell phone.  Because of this, we receive numerous “pocket dials” every day-calls in which people accidentally call in to 9-1-1.  In order to reduce these accidental calls, we recommend that you lock your phones and not pre-program 9-1-1 as a contact in your phone.  Cell phones that no longer have service can still dial 9-1-1, as long as the battery is charged.  This can be a good thing in a true emergency, but on the other hand, it could result in accidental calls to 9-1-1.  While Text-to-911 services are now available in Monroe County, we still recommend that you dial 9-1-1 instead of texting.  “Call if you can-text if you can’t”.   Learn more about Text-to-911.


Learn more about VoIP.


If you can FIND a pay phone, you can make a call to 9-1-1 for free, no need to deposit any coins.

Whichever way you call 9-1-1, make sure you are familiar with the device that you are using and know its capabilities and limitations!

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