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The Kingsport Police Department would like to share the following educational information regarding the proper use of 9-1-1. This information has been provided by Kingsport Central Dispatch. We also invite you to visit their website at the following link: www.Kingsport911.org

WHAT IS 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the number utilized in North America to report an emergency. Although it is in wide use, it is not universal. Rural areas may still utilize seven digit numbers for the police department, fire department, and ambulance services.


Nine-one-one (9-1-1) is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department, or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 9-1-1. It is better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

  • For information
  • For directory assistance
  • For paying traffic tickets
  • For your lost pet
  • As a prank
Dial 9-1-1
  • Tell the dispatcher what the emergency is
  • Wait for further instructions from the dispatcher
  • Don’t hang up until the dispatcher tells you to
What is an Emergency?
  • Any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding)
  • Any type of fire (business, car, building)
  • Any life-threatening situations (fights, people with weapons, etc.)
What information will the dispatcher need?
  • The location where assistance is needed
  • Your name and phone number
  • The nature of the emergency
  • Descriptions of suspects, or additional information
  • Where? – Where is this occurring?
  • What? – What is happening?
  • When? – Is this happening now?
  • Who? – Who is the victim, suspect, etc.?
  • Why? – Do you know why this is happening? i.e. depression?
  • Weapons? – Are there any weapons involved?
Helpful Hints:
  • Always listen to the Dispatcher.
  • The questions they ask are for the safety of you, the public and the officers.
  • Just because they are questioning you, does not mean help is not on the way.
  • Information is entered into a computer & dispatched to the proper units.
  • Remain on the line until told to hang up. The operator may need more information or to give you further instructions.
  • Be familiar with your area. We can’t help if you don’t know where you are.
  • NEVER intervene in a crime in progress.
What to do when you need help, but it’s not an emergency.
(Please contact the appropriate office.)
  • City Hall – 229-9400
  • Police Information – 229-9300
  • Fire Prevention/Inspection – 229-9440
  • Sullivan County EMS – 279-2812 (Convalescent Transport), 323-6474 (Billing)
  • Water/Sewer Department – 229-9454 (Maintenance), 229-9416 (Billing)
  • Public Works – 229-9470
  • Public Transportation-KATS – 224-2613
  • Central Dispatch – 246-9111

Wireless 9-1-1 is used to describe 9-1-1 calls, which originate from cellular telephones and other personal communications devices. During peak traffic times such as morning or evening commute, wireless calls often make up nearly half of all calls received.

Things to remember when you call 9-1-1 from a wireless device:

  • Provide an accurate address
  • Give exact street number and street name if possible
  • If uncertain, give a close intersection description
  • Provide a business name or landmark if address is unknown
  • Stay on the line and follow directions carefully
  • Do not hang up until your call is answered
  • Give your cell phone number to the call taker

As you travel the interstate highway system, notice signs located in the median. These signs have information concerning the interstate number, direction of travel and the milepost. This is valuable information to help identify your location to 9-1-1 call takers.

The following is a list of special tips that can help save the lives of our senior citizens:
  • Invest in a touch-tone phone with large, easy-to-read numbers.
  • Put a 9-1-1 reminder near the phone. Dialing ‘0’ will not always connect you with a local operator. It may connect you with an operator hundreds of miles away.
  • Always dial 9-1-1 for local police, fire or medical emergencies.
  • Keep your medical history taped to the refrigerator in an envelope clearly marked with your doctor’s phone number(s).

The department has a policy of handling certain property crimes by taking a report over the phone. Our Teleserve unit provides this service, to allow uniformed officers more time for patrol and responding to urgent calls.

When you call the department to report a property crime (at 246-9111), the operator will screen your call to determine if it fits the criteria for a Teleserve report. If it does, you will be asked for enough information to let the Teleserve operator call you back, and take the report.