FAQ

911 Service Questions

  • Will the 911 Call Taker dispatch emergency responders to my location?

    911 is a call answer and transfer service. Once the 911 Call Taker has determined your location, you will be transferred to the appropriate emergency responders for the area. It is important that you STAY ON THE LINE until you are advised it is okay to hang up. You should be prepared to provide the emergency responder with a detailed description of the emergency, a description of the terrain and the current weather in your location, a description of any shelter that may be possible for an injured individual and any first aid training that the caller or other travelers may have.

    Once you have been advised you can hang up, please keep the line free in case emergency responders need to contact you again.

    Back to Top
  • How will emergency responders find my location if I am in a remote area?

    Location information about a caller is not automatically available to 911 Call Takers. When providing a description of your location, it is helpful to the 911 Call Taker if you are able to provide your GPS coordinates in decimal degree format. Information regarding the closest community, any landmarks or cellular towers that are within your view, where you entered and how far you have traveled can all be helpful to the 911 Call taker and responding agencies in determining your location.

    911 Call Takers have access to location identification tools which can assist in determining the location of callers who are unsure of their area. The 911 Call Taker will provide other emergency service providers with any location information available to them to assist in their response to an incident. The accuracy of the location may be dependent on a number of factors including the terrain and number of cellular towers in the area. NL911 is not responsible for the accuracy of location identification tools.

    Back to Top
  • How can I reach 911 if I am using a GPS messenger service?

    If you are using a GPS messenger service, your 911 emergency signal will be answered by the GPS provider’s 911 answering service. Some GPS providers will direct your 911 call straight to one of our Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). To determine if your GPS service provider directs their calls to one of the NL911 PSAPs in Newfoundland and Labrador, please contact NL911 during regular business hours. If your provider does not currently direct your call to an NL911 PSAP, we will be happy to contact them to provide the information.

    Back to Top
  • What information will I need to provide if I call 911 from a remote location?

    When reporting an emergency, please provide a description of the emergency, the phone number and the location of the emergency.

    If a 911 caller is unsure of their location, 911 Call Takers have location identification tools that can often assist in identifying the location of callers.

    Back to Top
  • How can I reach 911 if I am using a satellite phone?

    If you are using a satellite phone when traveling to remote areas of the province, your emergency call will be directed to your satellite phone provider’s 911 answering service. However, if you would like to have your 911 call answered within Newfoundland and Labrador by a NL911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), please call NL911 during office hours to obtain the direct dial numbers for the appropriate 911 PSAP for your area.

    Back to Top
  • How do you know what emergency agency responds to each area?

    There are over 1300 Emergency Service Zones (ESZ) in the province that were identified by NL emergency service providers when 911 service was implemented. These zones identify the boundary jurisdiction for emergency response by agencies in each area. When a 911 Call Taker enters a location in the 911 system, the ESZ for that location is displayed and identifies each agency that responds to that area identified. The 911 Call Taker will then transfer the caller to the appropriate agency for response.

    Back to Top
  • Do I call 911 if I have a fire and there is no fire service in my area?

    Yes, always call 911 when there is a threat to health, life, safety or property. 911 is a call answer and transfer service. If there are no fire services for your location, 911 will transfer you to the police for your area to assist. 911 does not have the ability to transfer 911 calls to Fire Departments that are outside of your area’s emergency service zone (ESZ).

    Back to Top
  • Will the 911 call taker dispatch the emergency responders for me?

    No, NL911 provides a call answer and transfer service and is not a dispatching agency.  The 911 Call Taker will confirm the nature and location of your emergency and transfer you to the proper emergency agency for assistance. The emergency agencies are responsible to dispatch the necessary resources to your emergency.

    Back to Top
  • Will I ever get a busy signal if I call 911?

    No. There will always be someone ready to answer your call, even during a large-scale emergency when many people are calling to report the same incident. If you call 911 and hear what appears to be a busy tone, hang up, wait for a dial tone and try the call again. If the tone persists this may be an indication that there is a problem with your phone service. Try calling from another line, cellular phone, or seek a neighbor’s assistance.

    Back to Top
  • What 911 system is NL911 using?

    NL911 was implemented with a Basic 911 system which is as an emergency contact system via telephone that recognizes when someone dials 911 and routes the caller to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) based on the location of the caller. There are two (2) PSAPs in the province, one located in Corner Brook and the other in St. Johns. 

    Back to Top
  • Will 911 be able to identify my location if I cannot provide the information?

    To ensure a 911 caller is transferred to the correct emergency service provider, a 911 Call Taker will need to know your general location (ie community name or area on a highway). When a caller is unable to communicate their location, the 911 Call Taker can either attempt a call trace through the caller’s phone service provider, or if the caller is using a cellular phone with a data plan they can use a location identification tool.

    Once the location is identified, the 911 Call Taker will transfer the caller to the appropriate emergency service provider needed for dispatch and response. The location information gathered will be provided to the emergency service provider.

    If the location identification tool is used;

    • location identification will end when the caller is transferred to the emergency service provider needed for dispatch and response.

    • no charges from NL911 will be applied, however standard text messaging and data usage rates may apply from cellular service providers.

    Privacy settings on cellular devices vary by make and model. To help the accuracy of location identification tools, please note the following;

    • for iPhone, ensure you have location settings turned on under the Safari application.

    • for Android devices, ensure you have Emergency Location Service turned on and if applicable to your device, select ‘high accuracy’ mode.

    Back to Top
  • I received a bill from an emergency service provider and I would like to discuss further. Should I call the 911 administrative office?

    NL911 provides a province-wide emergency 911 telephone service that is a call answer and transfer service that connects 911 callers to their local emergency service providers. NL911 will never issue invoices to 911 callers for emergency response. NL911 has no authority over emergency service provider dispatch and response protocol, nor any applicable charges that may result from emergency service response. If anyone has received an invoice for emergency services rendered and has any questions related, they are to contact the service provider directly.

    Back to Top
  • Where is my 911 call answered if I am using a VoIP or Wi-Fi Calling service?

    When using a VoIP or Wi-Fi Calling service, the calls will initially be answered by a third-party that is chosen by your service provider. Third-party answering services are used across Canada for VoIP and Wi-Fi Calling users and is not unique to 911 calls made in Newfoundland and Labrador. NL911 does not have authority over where the initial 911 call is answered for those using these services. For further information, contact your service provider or review information provided on their website related.

    Back to Top