About 911

1. What is 911?

911 Is a national number used to report crimes, fires, health emergencies, or any other situation that requires an emergency response. An emergency is often defined as anything that is a threat to life or property. 


2. When should you use 911?

911 in Cayuga County is to be used for emergencies. Non-emergency incidents, such as those not in progress, should be reported using our non-emergency numbers.  Those can be found on our Agencies section.  

3.  How Does 911 Work?

When someone calls 911, generally they are routed to the appropriate 911 center based on the location the call is being placed. It is not uncommon to be sent to a neighboring 911 center if a call is made near a county border. If this happens your call will be transferred to the proper 911 center. If you are calling from a cell phone, in most instances, we at 911 will be able to see your location. This is not true for non-emergency calls, and is the leading reason why we ask if you are having a true emergency to dial 9-1-1.  From there a trained call taker will take all the necessary information from you, and send the proper response for the kind of emergency you are calling about. Non-emergency calls are handled in the same manner.

4. What should I expect when I call 911? 

When you dial 911, your call is answered by a trained call taker who needs certain information to ensure we send the proper response. No two 911 calls are the same, however there are four questions you should be ready to answer when you call 911. 

  • What is the location of the emergency?
  • What is the phone number you are calling from?
  • What is your name? (This is not a requirement. You can make anonymous reports, however if you wish to make a formal police report your name is needed.) 
  • What is is the reason for calling 911?

The above questions are not usually the only questions asked, but they are the essential questions needed to send the proper help you need. You are the eyes and ears of 911, we rely on the information you give to ensure we have a good idea of what is going on. We also understand that calling 911 is not something the average citizen does every day, but it is important to remember that answering the questions being asked by a call taker are essential. They also do not affect response times. Many times emergency responders are already on their way while you are still being interviewed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I accidentally Call 911?

It's not a problem, and happens rather often. Stay on the line and explain that it was an accident.

Do I have to give my name?

No you do not. You can report anything anonymously. However, if you are the victim of a crime, and wish to make a formal police report you must give your name. 

Can I make something "a matter of record," over the phone? 

Not generally no. We at 911 do not have the ability to do that. You must speak in person to an officer to do that. 

Can I pick what ambulance I get?

No, ambulances are decided by 911 based on location and availability. 

Who do I call if I don't have an emergency?

If you need to speak to someone for any reason not emergency related, all non emergency numbers are listed in the Agencies page. 

Can I text 911 if I can't call?

Yes! You can learn more about Text to 911 on the Text to 911 page.