Resources

Whether it is a threat to someone’s health, safety or property, and emergency assistance is needed right away, 911 is there to help.  Educational tools for how to use the province-wide 911 service are valuable for children and adults alike.  Knowledge is power, especially in an emergency. As a means of enhancing awareness of the province-wide 911 service, NL911 has compiled child and adult based educational resource material to be used by anyone wanting to educate themselves or others about the 911 service in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Education Tools for Children
For tools and resources dedicated to educating children about the province-wide 911 service, please visit the Kids Corner page.

Education Tools for Adults 
The following information has been developed to assist with educating adults about the province-wide 911 service. This information is also available for download in the pdf titled 911 Education Resources located in the Education Resources quick links to the right.

Topics:



How the 911 Service Works

Call Routing:

When you call 911, the telephone system will route your call to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) who answer 911 calls for your area. There are two PSAPs in Newfoundland and Labrador, one in Corner Brook and one in St. John’s.

The area by which each PSAP receives calls is based on a boundary determined by the number of phone subscribers in the province. This boundary is intended to provide an even distribution of calls to each PSAP.

  • Calls from east of Goobies are answered by the St. John’s PSAP.
  • Calls from the rest of the province are answered by the Corner Brook PSAP. 

Although calls are routed to each PSAP based on this boundary, each PSAP is redundant to the other and can answer calls regardless of where the call is generated. 

Continuity of Service:

At any time one PSAP has the capability to take over answering 911 calls for the whole province if the other PSAP had to evacuate or shut down services for any reason.

NL911 performs an annual test every year of the PSAP emergency evacuation process. This test ensures that business continuity processes are reviewed and the functionality tested in case they are ever needed.

There is an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and generator in place at both PSAPs to ensure there is no break in service at any time. 

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The Benefits of the 911 Service

NL911 provides a reliable, easy recognizable three digit emergency response service that is available throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The benefits of accessing 911 include:

  • A universally recognized way to access emergency help.
  • Provides access to emergency responders at any time anywhere in the province.
  • An easy number to remember especially in panic situations. Many do not memorize the local 7 digit numbers for all emergency responders in their area and may have a hard time remembering especially in panic situations.  This is also very useful for tourists who would not know the local emergency responder numbers.
  • Assists callers who have trouble communicating – 911 call takers will do a call trace to determine the callers location and assist with getting help.
  • Provides notice to other emergency service providers when needed. For emergencies that may require more than one emergency responder, 911 will contact and notify other agencies of the emergency.

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When to Call 911

911 is for emergencies only so it is important to understand when it is appropriate to call 911.

Only call 911 when there is a threat to health, life, safety or property that requires immediate response of emergency service personnel.

If an emergency situation arises, ask yourself one important question;

Is there an immediate need for emergency service personnel to protect or save a life, safety or property?

If so, or if you are in doubt, call 911.

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Making a 911 Call - What to Expect

When the 911 Call Taker answers, you will be asked for the following information:

  • The type of emergency – to determine which emergency response is needed
  • Your phone number - in case you get disconnected
  • The location of the emergency (community or area on a highway)

It is important to STAY CALM and answer all questions asked by the 911 Call Taker.  If you are unsure of your location, these helpful steps will assist the 911 Call Taker determine your location:

  • Look for street names, signs, or buildings you know.
  • Tell the Call Taker:
    • Where you were coming from, and where you were headed.
    • Approximately how long you have been travelling.
    • If you are in a car, walking, or riding a motorcycle, etc.

The community/area location is entered into the 911 system and will provide the 911 Call Taker with the emergency response agency contact numbers for that area. Your call will then be transferred to the emergency service provider who will assist with dispatching the help needed.

Sometimes emergencies need more than one kind of emergency response. In these cases, the 911 Call Takers will also notify other agencies of the emergency reported. The information provided is limited to the information collected during the 911 call handling process.

* Note: When you dial 911, LISTEN CAREFULLY as sometimes the Call Takers are handling other 911 calls and will get to your call as quickly as possible. When this occurs you will hear a recorded message indicating that the 911 Call Takers are currently handling other 911 calls, DO NOT HANG UP! Stay on the phone until the 911 Call Taker Answers.

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Accidental Calls to 911

Sometimes people accidentally call 911 by either a pocket dial on their mobile phone or a miss dial when attempting to call another line. If this occurs then DO NOT HANG UP! It is important that you stay on the telephone until the 911 Call Taker answers and then advise them that you accidentally called 911 and that there is no emergency. This avoids tying up 911 Call Takers time trying to determine if the disconnected call was related to an actual emergency or an accidental call.

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Non-English Speakers

911 Call Takers have access to a language line interpreter service to assist those needing emergency help but do not speak English.

The 911 Call Taker may request the language needed, so be prepared to advise in English if possible. You will hear some clicking sounds as the 911 Call Taker connects you to the interpreter. It is important to so stay calm and stay on the line.

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Hearing/Speech Impaired, and Deaf Community

There are two ways that NL911 can assist people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have communication disabilities with getting emergency help:

  1. Each NL911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) currently operates a TeleTypewriter (TTY) for people who use TTY. A  TTY is a device that a person can type their messages directly to a 911 Call taker who is operating the TTY.
  2. If a person who is deaf, hard of hearing or has communication disabilities, and has no access to TTY, they can call 911 for help on a landline telephone or cell phone. When calls are received where there is no voice response or difficulty understanding the caller, the 911 Call Taker will complete a call trace to determine the location of the caller and assist with contacting emergency services for that location.

If possible the caller is encouraged to keep repeating the following information:

  • they need help from the police, fire or ambulance,
  • the phone number they are calling from,
  • the address or location of the emergency.

It is essential that these callers remain on the line and repeat the vital information (if possible) so that the 911 Call Taker can identify the correct agency to respond for the area and assist with contacting those emergency responders for help.  People who have communication disabilities are encouraged to make any noise to indicate help is needed. For these calls the 911 Call Taker will complete the call trace and assist with contacting emergency help.

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911 Tips

Current statistics indicate that the largest volume of calls answered by 911 in Newfoundland and Labrador are not emergency related. The majority of these calls are accidental calls such as pocket dials, requests for information and hang ups.

In order to avoid accidental calls to 911, ensure that cell phones are locked and unable to automatically dial 911.

Any callers requesting for information that is not emergency related, will be directed to dial the 7 digit number for the service that they are requesting.

Whenever anyone calls 911 in error, it is important that you DO NOT HANG UP. For every hang up call, the 911 Call Takers are required to call you back to determine if there is an actual emergency. This process can be time consuming and potentially affect the efficiency of answering other 911 calls.

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For Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the FAQ section of our website located here.