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911: Call if you can, text if you can't

Non-Emergency /
file a Police Report:
804-646-5100

Business Phone:
804-646-5911

Email us: 911rva@richmondgov.com

 

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911: Call if you can, text if you can't

When calling 911

Do:

  • Call 911 only during a real emergency, such as someone is hurt, property is being damaged or a crime is being committed.
  • Call 911 first before making any other call.
  • Stay on the line until your call is answered, even if you dial 911 by mistake.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.
  • First, tell the operator the address of the emergency, either a street address or intersection, and any landmarks you can see.
  • Then, answer all of the operator’s questions to the best of your ability. The information is automatically provided to dispatchers, who are sending first responders. The information you provide helps to ensure you are getting the right response as quickly as possible.
  • Stay on the line to provide additional information and to get instructions for keeping everyone safe until the first responders arrive. Answering questions and getting instructions DOES NOT SLOW the response in any way. In emergencies, the first responders already are on the way.
  • Teach children and those with disabilities how to call and text 911 for help. Resources are available
    here. 

Do Not:

  • Do not allow children to play with old cell phones, which may be able to dial 911.
  • Do not hang up once 911 has been dialed. You can explain to the operator if the call was made by mistake. Wait until the operator advises you to hang up.
  • Do not assume the operator knows your location.
  • Do not hang up until you are advised to do so.
  • Do not call 911 for non-emergencies when no immediate Police, Fire or EMS help is needed. Other resources for help are available. For non-emergency public safety help, call 804-646-5100.
    For mental health help, call 988, and see more information here.
    For other types of help, see this printable graphic: 

 

When texting 911

Do:

  • Call if you can, text if you can’t.
  • Send a text message to 911 if you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, can’t speak, or it is not safe for you to speak.
  • Provide the exact location of the emergency in the text message.
  • If you do not receive a reply by text or if you receive a reply that texting is not available, call 911.
  • Provide the address of the emergency and then answer the call-takers' questions to the best of your ability. The information is automatically being provided to dispatchers. Answering questions and getting instructions from the call-taker DOES NOT SLOW the response in any way.
  • Teach children and those with disabilities how to call and text 911 for help. Resources are available
    here. 

Do Not:

  • Do not text and drive.
  • Do not send photos or videos to 911 at this time.
  • Do not copy others on the message to 911. Text-to-911 cannot include more than one person.

More information on text-to-911