Frequently Asked Questions
What number do I call in an emergency?
The only number you should call for immediate assistance in an emergency is 9-1-1.
When should I call 9-1-1?
- crime in progress
- motor vehicle accident
- medical emergency
- chemical spills
- smoke or carbon monoxide detectors sounding
- any life threatening emergency
- if you are in doubt, call and let the trained dispatcher decide
What if I call 9-1-1 in error?
Please do not hang up. Let the dispatcher know it was in error. Even though the caller hangs up, the information shows on the 9-1-1 telephone. If the dispatcher is unable to make contact, a police officer will be sent to check the address to verify that no emergency exists.
Should I call 9-1-1 to see if school has been cancelled?
No. Please listen to WBZ radio or watch local cable. We do not want to tie up the 9-1-1 lines with non-emergency calls. 9-1-1 is for emergency use only, and school cancellations do not constitute an emergency.
What if I need help and am unable or afraid to talk?
Massachusetts has a silent call procedure in place. If you are physically unable to speak or are in a situation where you dare not speak, the dispatcher will ask a series of questions and instruct you to press a number on your phone for a response. The sequence is as follows; if you need police, press 1 or fire press 2 or an ambulance press 3. The dispatcher will then ask questions that can be answered yes, press 4 or no, press 5. Assistance will be dispatched.
Can a deaf or hard of hearing person use 9-1-1?
Our 9-1-1 equipment has a teletypewriter that allows a person to type a request for help. The calling party must have the TTY at home and can then converse by typing.
Can I use my cellular phone to call 9-1-1?
Yes, you can use your cell phone to call 9-1-1. However, the call will be directed to the Massachusetts State Police and they will get the pertinent information and transfer the call to the correct department.
What is I.C.E. and should I program it into my cell phone?
I.C.E. stands for “In Case of Emergency”. You should program your cell phone with the name of someone you want notified when there is an emergency. The name should be followed by ICE. This allows emergency personnel to identify victims and contact their next of kin in a timely manner.
This is an internationally known program which was started by a British paramedic, Bob Brotchie, in 2005.