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When to Call 9-1-1

911 is for police, fire, or medical emergencies when immediate action is required: someone’s health safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress. 

Please use 9-1-1 responsibly – it is not an information line. 9-1-1 call-takers cannot provide information on the weather, power outages or phone numbers for other municipal services.

Local non-emergency numbers for police, fire, and ambulance are:

               Owen Sound Police Service: 519-376-1234

               Owen Sound Fire & Emergency Services: 519-376-2512

               Brightshores Health System, Owen Sound: 519-376-2121

Tips for Calling 9-1-1

9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers are highly, dedicated professionals who will get you to help you need.

When a call-taker answers, they will ask: “do you need police, fire, or ambulance?” and will also confirm for which municipality the emergency is occurring in.

  • Stay on the line and follow instructions. Your 9-1-1 call -taker will stay on the line with you to make sure your call is answered and there is a voice connection with the agency you require.

Know your Location

  • Know your location at all times and communicate it as soon as you are asked.
  • Cellular and internet phones do not display exact location information. KNOW YOUR LOCATION.
  • You should know what city or area you are in, building and home address, cross streets, and any other information that will help emergency personnel find you (e.g. landmarks, highway exits/markers).

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

  • Listen carefully, speak clearly and try to remain calm. Call-takers are trained to ask specific questions in priority sequence. Call-takers are relaying the vital information you provide electronically to dispatchers and to emergency personnel on their way to help you.
  • Don’t hang up until the call-taker says it is okay to do so.

Don’t Hang Up

If you dial 9-1-1 accidentally, stay on the line and tell us. If you hang up we don’t know if you are okay and will have to call back or send police to check on you.

  • Use your cellphone’s key lock and stow it in a safe position to avoid accidental dialing.
  • Do not store your cell phone in a cupholder in a moving vehicle or against something while you are moving.
  • Don’t program 9-1-1 into any telephone – speed dials lead to accidental 9-1-1 calls.
  • Please do not test 9-1-1 to see if its working.

Interpretation Services

24-hour language interpretation service are available and can be accessed in less than a minute. Interpretation is available in more than 170 languages. 

  • Advise your non-English speaking family and friends about 9-1-1 and to call that number first in an emergency.
  • Teach your non-English speaking family and friends to learn the English word for the language they speak (e.g. learn to say “Cantonese”) in case an interpreter is needed - this will help speed up the process.
  • Encourage friends and family to learn the words police, fire, and ambulance in English.
  • Help non-English speaking friends and family to learn their address in English.
  • Remind friends and family that even if they speak a little English, that it is very helpful and is often all our call-takers need to collect information.

Help Others Learn about 9-1-1

  • Teach children to use 9-1-1 properly and remind them it is for emergencies only. Always keep cordless phones or cellphones fully charged and in the same place in the home. Ensure children know how to operate all the telephones in your home. Keep your address information near the phone and show your children and caregivers where it is.
  • NEVER give old cellphones to children to use as toys – many phones can still dial 9-1-1.

The Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing and Speech-Impaired (DHHSI) community can communicate with a 9-1-1 operator through Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1). For more information visit

  • DHHSI callers must pre-register their cellphones. Callers who have not registered with T9-1-1 should dial 9-1-1 from a landline telephone and not hang up. The line will remain open and the call-taker will be able to see the address and will send police.
  • DO NOT text or tweet 9-1-1. Use a phone to contact 9-1-1

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