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About 911

Dial 911 to request police, fire and emergency medical services. A 911 call is toll-free and is accessible through residential, wireless and pay telephones throughout the District. 

When to Call 911

Use 911 to report any of the following:

  • Any crime in progress or where the offender is still on the scene (or has just left the scene)
  • All fires and medical emergencies
  • Home and business intruders
  • Vehicle crashes involving personal injury, major property damage or traffic tie-ups
  • Sighting of a criminal whom you know is wanted by the police

Information You Need to Provide When Calling 911

Providing accurate, complete information is critical when you call 911. Try to remain calm. Speak slowly and clearly.

Critical Information

While the information we receive varies according to the type of incident, you may be asked to provide the following:

  • A brief description of the crime or incident
  • Time of occurrence
  • Location, including street and unit/apartment numbers, if possible
  • Extent of injuries or property damage, if any
  • Description of any suspects, such as gender, race, height, weight, clothing, hair color/style, facial hair, and scars, marks or tattoos
  • Description of any weapons used
  • Description of suspect vehicle, including make/model, color, tag numbers (including jurisdiction), and whether there are temporary tags on the vehicle
  • Direction of suspect flight: down what street/alley; on foot, bicycle or motor vehicle

Optional Information

Callers to 911 need not reveal their names, addresses, or phone numbers if they wish to remain anonymous when reporting a crime or incident.  Simply tell the call-taker you wish to remain anonymous, and ask the call-taker to tell the responding officers that you do not want the police to come to your home.

Help for 911 Callers Who Do Not Speak English

Callers who do not speak English, or who feel more comfortable communicating in a language other than English, can still access 911 services.  There are call takers at the center who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Amharic, Japanese, Russian, Korean and Yoruba.  In addition, call takers have immediate access to a language translation service through which translations can be made available in more than 100 different languages and dialects.  If necessary, callers should tell the call-taker they want a language translator to help facilitate their call.

Help for 911 Callers Who Are Hearing Impaired

911 is completely accessible to the hearing impaired. We can accept TDD calls, and callers do not have to call a separate TDD number for police, fire or medical emergencies.