911 Do’s/Don’ts

When Calling the Police or 911 in an Emergency:

1. Give the complete address—Where you need help.
2. Tell the telecommunicator what the problem is—Why you need help.
3. Give the telecommunicator your name.
4. Remain calm, speak clearly, and give the telecommuncator as much information as possible.
5. Remember if you are calling from your computer using a Voice Over Internet Protocol, such as Vonage or Skpe, emergency responders will be unable to trace the call to your location, if necessary.


  • Stay as calm as possible.
  • Speak loudly and clearly, but do not scream.
  • Let the operator control the conversation.
  • Know what direction your home faces.
  • Know the nearest intersection.
  • Know how many houses your home is from the corner.
  • Know if the street you live on runs north and south or east and west.
  • Give your complete address, including an apartment number or letter.


  • Do not call 911 and say: “This is not an emergency, but…”
  • Do not call 911 and ask for the Murphysboro Police Department’s non-emergency number. It’s 618.684.5254 or 618.684.2121.
  • Do not call 911 and ask for another police department’s non-emergency number. Call 411. If the department is in another area code, dial that area code, then 555.1212.
  • Do not call 911 and say: “I know you don’t handle this, but…” Call the non-emergency number instead.
  • Do not call 911 to report a barking dog or other animal control problem. If you call 911 by mistake, just admit it. If you don’t, a telecommunications operator will call you back and a squad car will be sent to your home.
  • During a storm, do not call 911 to report that the power is out at your home, unless it’s an emergency. Call CIPS or Egyptian Electric.
  • If the alert or “tornado” sirens are sounding, do not call 911 to find out why. Turn your radio to AM 1420 to get information.
  • Do not call police dispatchers to get a tornado or weather report. Get a battery-powered radio and stay tuned to WINI AM-1420.