When to Call? 9-1-1 / 3-1-1
Call 911 anytime you have an emergency when police, fire or medical response is required immediately. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies include fire, crimes in progress or that just occurred, or a medical crisis. A good rule of thumb is - when life or property is threatened or at immediate risk, or if there is a good chance that a criminal can be apprehended, call 9-1-1. If you are unsure how serious an incident is, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. Assistance will be dispatched to the most critical calls first.
Check out this quick facts sheet: When Calling 9-1-1 (PDF). Call precedence from highest to lowest:
- Threat to life
- Threat to property/property damage
- General Assistance
If in doubt, call 9-1-1. Better to be safe than sorry.
Never make a "test" call or "prank" call to 9-1-1. These calls tie up the phone lines and take Dispatchers' time and attention away from taking care of real emergency situations.
Never call 911 and hang up. If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, do not hang up. Let the call taker know that you accidentally called. Otherwise, the call taker will attempt to call you back, possibly multiple times, to try to make sure you’re okay. This creates extra work for our 911 call takers that would otherwise be answering additional emergency calls for help.
Contact Clark PUD Powerline at 360-992-8000 for questions relating to or to report power outages.
To learn more about how we serve you, please explore our website. If you have additional questions you may email CRESA.
What to Expect
Remain calm and speak clearly. Provide the dispatcher with the following information.
- What is happening?
- Where is the location?
- What is your name, address and phone number?
While we ask these questions, we are entering the information into a computerized dispatch system. Other dispatchers can see that information and send help to you while we are still talking to you on the phone. Answering questions does not delay response. We will often keep you on the phone and obtain more information to give the responders. For example, it often helps the paramedics on the ambulance to know what kind of medication the patient takes every day. The patient might have a breathing problem that is unrelated to the medication, but that information will improve the quality of the care paramedics can provide. Please remain on the telephone to provide additional information as requested by the dispatcher. Do not hang up until the dispatcher advises you to do so.
- If I have a problem after hours that is not an emergency, is there another number I can call beside 9-1-1?
Yes. You can dial 3-1-1 or 360-693-3111 in Clark County. If you have a concern about anything that is "in progress," call 9-1-1, state the problem, the location, and a description of subjects or vehicles. We can always refer you to other agencies if we determine it is not an "in progress" emergency. Even a 5-minute delay can make the difference in whether police can find the bad guy. Don't delay; call right away!
- I called 9-1-1 and they asked me if I had an “in progress” emergency. I said “no” and they put me on hold for a long time. Why did I have to wait?
Dispatchers may need to put you on hold if you do not have an "in-progress emergency". When dispatchers take "in-progress" calls such as medical, (especially cardiac arrest, choking and childbirth), armed robberies and fires, they may need to put you on hold so they can take care of priority situations. That doesn't mean your call is not important, but some calls take priority over non-emergency calls not in progress, so responding units can get there quickly.
- I called 9-1-1 for an ambulance and I got a fire truck and an ambulance. Why did you send me a fire truck too?
Every time someone calls 9-1-1 for a medical situation, our dispatchers send a fire “First Responder” unit to the scene to assess the situation. Oftentimes, the first responders are closer and can arrive sooner to provide treatment. All ambulances, as do most fire units in Clark County, have paramedics on them to provide treatment for injuries and medical conditions.
3-1-1 Non-Emergency Law Enforcement Number
Community members can call 3-1-1 or 360-693-3111 to reach the same 9-1-1 dispatchers regarding non-emergent law enforcement calls. This line will help prioritize incoming calls at the 911 center and keep 9-1-1 open for emergencies.
When you call 3-1-1 you may be placed on hold or you may be placed in a queue. You may hear a recorded message with information about alternative numbers or resources you may use instead of waiting for a dispatcher. CRESA is a busy place, serving as both the 9-1-1 answering point for all of incorporated and unincorporated Clark County and is also the dispatch center for local law enforcement and fire/emergency medical services (EMS) responders. Please be patient, as the same people answering 9-1-1 emergency calls and dispatching responders are the same people answering 3-1-1.
A few guidelines to follow when you decide if you want to call 9-1-1 versus 3-1-1:
- Always use 9-1-1 for any fire and medical call, no matter how minor you think the medical complaint is
- Call 9-1-1 if your police complaints involves a gun, is a crime happening now, or a situation that needs police to prevent or stop an injury or property damage
- 3-1-1 is the alternate number to report non-emergency law-enforcement-related complaints
If you are unsure, call 9-1-1 and we will get you the right help or refer you to the right resource.