Landline 911 Disability Notification Form (PDF) – For citizens to provide specific information to the 911 center about residents with disabilities so first responders can respond appropriately.

9-1-1 Calling Tips

  • Call 9-1-1…
  • Stay calm and speak clearly
  • Be sure to listen carefully and answer all of the Telecommunicator’s questions to the best of your ability.
  • Do not hang up until the 9-1-1 call taker has obtained all of the information that is needed.
  • If you cannot speak, you can still communicate with the call taker by using your phones key pad. Once the call taker answers-
  • Cordless phones will not work during power outages, si its important to always keep a corded phone in case of an emergency
  • If you have a Voice Over Internet (VoIP) phone its important to be aware of ANY and ALL limitations it has on calling 9-1-1.
  • And please remember, 9-1-1 is for emergencies only!


Yes, you can call 911 on your cell phone. However, be prepared to give the 911 call taker information about your location, because it is not the same as calling 911 on your home or business phone. It is free to call 911 on your cell phone.

Does the 911 call taker know my location?

Assume the 911 call taker does not know your location. Even if your cell phone is able to provide location information, you will need to provide the 911 call taker with additional location information. Remember, the approximate location the 911 center receives could be as large as 3 football fields or more. Be prepared to give specific directions to your location if possible.

What if I don’t know where I am when I call 911? 

Look for landmarks, large buildings, street signs or anything nearby that may contain address information. Think back to the main street or highway you were near when your emergency occurred. If others are around, ask them where you are. Do not depend on your cell phone to tell 911 where you are!

Does the 911 call taker know my phone number when I call 911 on a cell phone? 

Maybe or maybe not, depending upon your cell phone and the technology available within the 911 center your 911 call connects with. The safest way to approach the problem is to assume that the 911 call taker will not know your phone number and be prepared to provide them with that information.

Why does the dispatcher transfer my call to another agency? 

All wireless 911 calls placed in Massachusetts are routed to call takers at regional communications centers or the Massachusetts State Police. If you dial 911 from a cellular phone while in Tewksbury, the call will be routed to the Essex County Regional Emergency Communications Center. Depending on the location and nature of the call, the caller will be transferred to the local 911 center for further assistance.

What do I do if I’m cut off after they answer? 

Always try to call 911 back. Don’t wait for the 911 call taker to try to contact you. They may not have received your cell phone number in the initial 911 call and may need additional information.

Can I keep driving when I call 911 on a cellular phone? 

It is usually best to pull over when calling 911, as there is less chance of the cell phone signal being dropped if in a stationary location. Additionally, any emergency instructions that need to be carried out can best be done while stopped. Finally, if help needs to reach you it is best to be in one place so help can get to you, instead of trying to meet them somewhere. If you cannot safely pull over to speak to 911 then stay calm, pay attention to the roadway with surrounding vehicles, and follow the 911 call taker’s instructions.

Should I program 911 or turn on my auto 911 feature on my cellular phone? 

No, please do not program 911 or use the auto 911 feature. There are numerous accidental calls to 911 from cell phones that have this feature. The callers often don’t realize that their phone has called 911. Help reduce accidental calls to 911 by only calling when you have an emergency.

What is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)? 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an emerging technology that allows voice quality calls to be made over Internet connections. To access a VoIP service, the customer needs the provided adapter which is placed in between the computer and high-speed internet and a standard household telephone.

How does VoIP differ from traditional home phone service? 

Unlike the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), VoIP uses advanced technology to convert your voice into data that allows you to place and receive calls over a high-speed broadband internet connection. Also VoIP is not confined to your home – VoIP service can be accessed from anywhere there is a high-speed broadband internet connection.