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When to Call 9-1-1

During the COVID-19 crisis if you or someone you know is considering calling 9-1-1 due to symptoms or concerns, please look over this document from Pennsylvania Department of Health before calling: 


If you have other questions concerning COVID-19, please contact:

Department of Public Safety's Public Information Line, (814) 297-7995 from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

Additional 9-1-1 Information

9-1-1 & Cell Phones: Critical Facts & Tips

Many people are making the decision to disconnect their home phone and move their home telephone to their cell phone. If you decide to use only a cell phone, keep these important tips in mind:

  • A typical home or work phone gives 9-1-1 call takers an exact location. Cell phones with location technology only provide an approximate location.
  • Typically only larger metropolitan areas have updated 9-1-1 equipment and technology. Many 9-1-1 centers across the nation are NOT equipped to receive location information. If you are in an area that has implemented location technology and you have an outdated phone, your location information may not be received by the call taker.
  • Choose your phone wisely. Your life could depend on it. Research your decision and know the benefits and limitations of the phone service prior to making a commitment or signing a contract.
  • Always know your location and be ready to give directions to the 9-1-1 call taker using cross streets, mile markers, landmarks, city and county names.
  • Always know your cell phone number.
  • Tell the 9-1-1 call taker what the emergency is.
  • If your call is disconnected dial 9-1-1 again and let them know you were disconnected.


9-1-1 is only to be used ONLY in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It's better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

DO call 9-1-1 when:

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • House fire
  • Domestic violence
  • Burglary or theft in progress
  • Car accidents
  • Suspicious activities
  • Anything else that seems like an emergency!

DO NOT call 9-1-1...

  • For information
  • When the power is out
  • To report a broken fire hydrant
  • When your water pipes burst
  • To get a ride for doctor's appointment
  • For paying tickets
  • For your pet
  • As a pranks a prank

Remember: NEVER PRANK CALL 9-1-1!

It's a prank call when someone calls 9-1-1 for a joke, or calls 9-1-1 and hangs up. If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. In most places, it's against the law to make prank 9-1-1 calls.

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