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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Can one call 911 for something in another city?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (18817points) January 28th, 2017

Say your friend is in another city and gets in an accident while talking to you on the phone? Can local 911 operators forward the call to the other city? Has anyone stories to share?

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13 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Don’t think it works that way. The location is by the person that makes the call.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Tropical_Willie That’s disappointing . seeing it is 2017. I think my province (Alberta) is just starting to accept text messages to 911.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The point of interest is the phone number for the dispatcher,
If I dial 911 from “East Jabrew” it is going to the “East Jabrew” dispatcher! They maybe able to alert another 911 operator but it is for the local dispatcher that receives the call and that is how it works. It could be 2525 but that is the way it works.

JLeslie's avatar

What about when you call from a cell phone with an area code from a different county or state? How does the phone automatically dial the local 911?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Cell phones will have a tower or towers that locate the caller.

If have used my cell phone for a wild fire in Virginia my cell was in Connecticut, the dispatcher was in Virginia (actually an Army base front gate.)

Patty_Melt's avatar

It is possible, but I don’t remember how; maybe with operator assistance.
Contact your carrier. Maybe they can help.

CWOTUS's avatar

Perhaps the dispatcher in the local jurisdiction where the call is placed may be able to quickly and directly contact emergency services in a neighboring town that could respond faster. (This is just presented as an example.) Living by the Connecticut River as I do, and with a limited number of widely spaced bridges, a 911 call placed in and answered by dispatchers in, say, South Windsor (on one side of the river), may be more quickly responded to by the emergency services from Windsor, on the other side of the river. So I would be as certain as I can be that the South Windsor and Windsor dispatchers have each others’ emergency services’ direct lines to handle situations like this when they arise. I’m sure there are any number of jurisdictions that have these kinds of geographical (and sometimes political) constraints, and which they have learned to deal with over the years.

But obviously the emergency services dispatchers in South Windsor and Windsor, as close as they and other nearby towns might be, would have no likely way to contact the police in East Podunk if your friend gets into an accident there, and especially if that occurs out of state. But I’m also certain that the dispatchers have their own State Police numbers on speed dial, and possibly the State Police for neighboring states (read “provinces” as applicable) as well, so the call to your local 911 operator could be quickly routed to the neighboring state’s police, and very likely state and provincial police distantly removed from one another.

I’m certain that in this day of quick interstate and international transportation, it may from time to time be necessary for the Connecticut State Police to call the California State Patrol, for example, to inform them that a fugitive is believed to be on a commercial flight due to land at such-and-such a time and place, and that a Connecticut warrant has been issued for the person’s arrest. So state police can contact each other quickly, I have no doubt. (And for a life-and-death emergency they would do that, too.)

For non life-threatening emergencies it’s probably wiser to simply look up the direct-dial number that you want instead, and place the call via the department’s number if possible.

funkdaddy's avatar

Yes, they can transfer you. I’m not sure how quick it would be for a distant city.

I called 911 from a cell phone about 10 years ago. We were driving and a drunk driver rear ended the car next to me and drove off, I followed.

I was transferred twice as we moved through different police department’s service areas and talked to a dispatcher at each. The transfers were quick and treated like no big deal.

Mariah's avatar

I remember my mom calling some emergency help for her dad, who was halfway across the country, after talking to him on the phone and hearing that he was incoherent. I’m not sure if she did it through 911 though, she may have looked up the number for his local police and called them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Of course it wouldn’t do much good unless you know your friend’s exact location at that moment.

zenvelo's avatar

It is possible for dispatchers to relay to another jurisdiction. A suicide was prevented just last week when someone saw a girl attempting to kill herself live on FaceBook. Someone called 911, who relayed to the girl’s hometown, who called authorities in another town where she was. They were able to direct police to where she was in time.

YARNLADY's avatar

A person in Russia was online with someone in my neighborhood who threatened suicide, and she called the police long distance. They responded within a few minutes. I don’t think it was 911.

AshlynM's avatar

I’d say it’s possible but you’d need to know your friend’s exact location.

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