How to Call 911

All 911 calls are received by Sheriff’s Communications Officers who are trained and dedicated to screening calls quickly and efficiently. They have to get the information quickly in order to determine what agencies need to be dispatched.

When you dial 911, your call is answered by a dispatcher staffing a 911 PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) located in Riverside, the Coachella Valley or Blythe.

Central Dispatch PSAP

Calling from a Residence or Business

  1. Dial 911: Dial 9, then 1, then 1 again.
  2. Emergency and Need: Tell the dispatcher what you need and/or what the emergency is. For example:
    • I need an ambulance, fire truck, or police officer.
    • There’s a burglary in progress.
    • There’s been a car accident.
    • Someone is having a heart attack.
  3. Name and Address: Give your name and address. If your address is different from the location of the crime, be sure to let the dispatcher know. Dispatchers will verify your address and telephone to ensure that the telephone company address that is sent with the call is current and accurate. People living in mobile home parks, condominiums, or on private roads often have addresses that differ from the telephone company street.
  4. Additional Information: If possible, provide additional information to the dispatcher, such as suspect description, vehicle description, etc.
  5. Be Calm: When a caller is upset or hysterical, it is difficult to understand what they are saying or to get vital information quickly.
  6. Don't Hang Up: Stay on the phone. Do not hang up unless told to by the dispatcher.

Apartments & Mobile Homes

If you live in a mobile home park or an apartment, make sure to let the dispatcher know this and provide the name and apartment or space number.


If you are calling from a business, provide the name of the business along with the suite number if there is one.

Calling from a Cell / Wireless / Mobile Phone

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has jurisdiction over cell phone repeaters on or near freeways and highways. If you are calling 911 and you are near a freeway or highway, it is likely the call will be answered by CHP dispatchers. If the area given is not covered by the CHP, they will transfer you to the correct public safety agency. Follow steps 1 through 6 listed on this page under "Calling from a Residence or Business."

Calling from Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

VoIP uses an internet data connection to connect a standard telephone device to another similar device, or to the public switched telephone system, in order to connect to any telephone in the world. To call 911 from VoIP, you must first arrange for E-911 service with the internet provider.

If the caller does not arrange for this service, they may not reach the appropriate dispatch center or have their address and phone number displayed for the call taker. Follow steps 1 through 6 listed on this page under "Calling from a Residence or Business."