• Can I call 911 from a cellular phone that has no current voice service plan?

    Most cellular phones without a voice service plan or “decommissioned” phones are able to call 911 even without a service plan, however there has been a recent change in network access that may affect the older types of cellular phones ability to make calls. Some older cellular phones used to operate on a network that has been recently taken out of service. Any cellular device that used to operate on these networks will not be able to apply a new service plan nor connect to 911.

    NL911 recommends visiting any local mobile phone vendor who can advise what network your decommissioned phone used to operate on and if it will currently connect to 911 if needed.

    It is very important to understand that 911 Call Takers are unable to trace calls from decommissioned cellular phones, therefor it is very important that the caller is able to communicate their location when calling 911 from these phones to report an emergency.

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  • What is the Emergency SOS feature for cell phones and how does it work within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

    The Emergency SOS feature allows iPhone users who need emergency response, to press the lock button on their iPhone five times in a row and their phone will display an SOS button to swipe to contact emergency services. There are also apps available for Android mobile phones that provide similar functionality.

    When using this method for contacting emergency services within NL, you must STAY ON THE LINE and advise the 911 Call Taker of your location. If you are unable to speak, then you must keep the line open and DO NOT HANG UP. The open line will allow the 911 Call Taker to hear that there is an emergency situation, trace the call to determine the location of the phone and then communicate with emergency responders who will dispatch help.

    Within the Emergency SOS functionality, there is an alarm that can sound and a countdown will start before the emergency call is initiated. This provides notice for those who may have accidentally called 911 an opportunity to cancel that call before it is initiated. For those who want to call discreetly, this alarm function can be disabled but those who disable this function need to know that they could accidentally call 911.

    911 Call Takers can work with telecommunication providers to trace callers as well as use location identification tools for cellular callers (with data plans), when the caller is unable to provide a location. 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.

    Once a 911 call has been transferred to the appropriate emergency service provider, the 911 Call Taker will end the location identification of the caller. A 911 Call Taker will not use a location tracking tool unless an individual has called 911.

    NOTE: There are versions of the iPhone that this option is not available and iPhone users are encouraged to refer to Apple to get more information.

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  • Will NL911 solicit for funds by a door to door campaign?

    NL911 maintains a strict no-solicitation policy covering all aspects of our operations. 

    NL911 is a not for profit corporation completely funded by the $0.75 fee that is applied to all telephone service lines in Newfoundland and Labrador. This fund provides for the operations and administration of the emergency 911 telephone service, as well as its promotion through education and awareness campaigns.

    NL911 does not promote 911 service by door to door campaigns with sales and distribution of promotional items. Any person or persons promoting 911 service in this manner are not representatives of NL911.

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  • What if I’m driving and have to call 911?

    First, pull over. Take notice of your surroundings and tell the Call Taker as much detail as possible so they can determine your location. It would help to identify any location markers, signs you have seen, the approximate distance you have travelled and where you left and where you are headed. 911 Call Takers have access to location identification tools which can assist in determining the location of callers who are not sure of their area or who are unable to provide their location to the 911 Call Taker.

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  • Will I ever have to pay to call 911?

    Other than your monthly 75 cent fee, calls to 911 are always free, even from cell phones and pay phones.

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  • If I accidentally call 911 should I hang up?

    No, stay on the phone and let the 911 Call Taker know that it was a mistake. If you do not stay on the line the Call Taker will have to spend time tracing your call and calling you back to ensure that there is not an emergency.

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  • Should I put 911 on speed dial?

    No, having 911 on a speed dial can contribute to accidental calls to 911. Cellular phones with 911 programmed can be accidentally pocket-dialed.

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  • How do I know if I have a real emergency?

    An emergency is when there is a threat to health, life, safety or property that requires immediate response of emergency 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 you think it is, or if you are in doubt, call 911.

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  • Should I dial 911 if I have a non-emergency situation?

    No, do not dial 911 for non-emergency situations. For non-emergency situations find the appropriate local phone number to inquire related. 911 phone lines should be kept free for emergency situations.

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  • What is my 75 cent monthly fee being used for?

    There is a 75 cent monthly fee charged on all phone lines in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is used to fund the 911 service for the province. This fee is specifically used for the administration and operation of the current province-wide 911 service, as well as to improve the current system and implement system enhancements including a Next Generation 911 (NG911) system.

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  • How do people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have communication disabilities access NL911 services?

    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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  • What if I don't speak English?

    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 stay calm and stay on the line.

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  • ​How can I be better prepared when taking part in outdoor activities in remote areas?

    Before you travel to remote areas of the province, ensure your electronic devices are fully charged and bring backup batteries when possible. You can also become familiar with any built-in GPS or compass capabilities that your devices may have, as these will be helpful if you need to call 911. You should always leave your travel plans with your family or a friend, including your expected time of return.

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