WHEN TO CALL 911
9-1-1 is appropriate for situations involving an immediate threat to life or property. This included in-progress crimes, fire related incidents occurring now, and medical situations happening now. If your call does not fit this criterion, please call the non-emergency number (406-457-8866).
STAY CALM AND ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS
It is imperative that you stay calm and answer all of the Dispatchers questions, quickly and concisely. 9-1-1 Dispatchers are trained to get the most important information as quickly as possible to get help on the way to an emergency situation. Allow the Dispatcher to ask you all the questions they need in order to get help there in the timeliest manner. The answers you provide are very important in helping the Dispatcher understand the situation so they can relay that information to the responding police, fire, or medical personnel. Please know that answering these questions does not delay a response. We understand that you are most likely very upset and scared, and will do our best to try to help you though the incident.
KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE EMERGENCY
When you dial 9-1-1, knowing your location is vital to ensure police, fire, or medical help gets to you. Learn your compass directions, such as north, south, east, and west, as well. Narrowing down a location is vital for emergency responders. Please give an address, intersection, mile marker or, in the case of a wilderness area or park area, your location such as a trail or landmark. This will be one of the fist questions you are asked, because if the call should be disconnected for any reason, the 911 Dispatcher can still dispatch personnel to that location.
IF YOU DIAL 9-1-1, DO NOT HANG UP
If you accidentally or inadvertently dial 9-1-1, do NOT hang up. Stay on the line and tell the Dispatcher that there is no emergency and you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake. This saves us from having to call you back to find out if there is an emergency or not. This process of having to call number back may take upwards of two minutes; that's two minutes someone else may have to wait on hold with a true emergency.
TEXT-TO-911 IS AVAIABLE IN LEWIS AND CLARK COUNTY
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a "short" text message (SMS) or other kind of text message to 9-1-1 from your mobile phone or device. You should always make a voice call to 9-1-1 during an emergency whenever possible. Text-to-911 is a useful for members of the community who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. Use Text-to-911 if you find yourself in a situation in which a voice call to 9-1-1 may be dangerous or impossible. Remember the motto:
Call if you can, text if you can't.