911 FAQ & Guidelines

9-1-1 FAQs and Guidelines

Under what circumstances should I call 9-1-1? 

  • 9-1-1 is for emergencies only. 9-1-1 should be used in any critical situation where a law enforcement officer, fire fighter or emergency medical help is needed right away.

When calling 9-1-1:

  • Try your best to remain calm.
  • Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Listen and answer all the questions the Public Safety Telecommunicator (PST) asks.
  • Tell the Public Safety Telecommunicator (PST) the location where you need assistance and what the emergency is.

Who is the 9-1-1 call taker and what will they ask me?

  • Your 9-1-1 call will be answered by a Public Safety Telecommunicator (PST).
  • Public Safety Telecommunicators (PSTs) are professionally trained in handling 9-1-1 calls.

The Public Safety Telecommunicator (Pst) Will Ask:

  • 9-1-1 where is your emergency?
  • What is happening or happened?
  • When did the event occur?
  • Who? (The PST will need to obtain the caller’s location, name and call-back number)
  • Depending on the information given by the caller the PST will determine the nature of the emergency and the appropriate emergency responder (Police, Fire and/or Emergency Medical Services) will be dispatched.
  • The Public Safety Telecommunicators may need to keep you on the line to provide further instructions or information until help arrives.

What happens if the caller does not speak English?

  • The Public Safety Telecommunicators have access to 24/7 Language Line that provides immediate translation services for 170 languages.

Calling 9-1-1 by accident:

  • If you call 9-1-1 by accident, do not hang up, stay on the line and wait to speak with the call taker.
  • Each time a 9-1-1 hang-up call is received, the PST must immediately call back the phone number to determine if there is an emergency. If there is no answer on call back, law enforcement personnel will immediately be dispatched to check the well-being of any persons at the location.

Contact Us

Charles Schwartz

Director of Communications


Lisa Curry

Executive Assistant

Cell:  201-316-4805


 Bergen County Department of Public Safety

Division of Bergen County Communications

Public Safety Operations Center

285 Campgaw Road • Mahwah, NJ 07430

Hours: Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm