When to Call 911


When to Call

There are four reasons to call 911:

  • To get help for someone who is hurt or very sick
  • If you smell smoke or see a fire
  • If you see someone stealing something or hurting someone
  • If you need emergency help fast for any reason

When Not to Call 911

  • When there is no emergency such as someone stole your bicycle while you were at school or your neighbor has loud music and you want them to turn it down, etc. You should use the non-emergency telephone number to report these types of things. Meriwether County’s non-emergency number is 706-672-3809. You will reach the Meriwether County 911 Communication Center and your call will be prioritized as a non-emergency.
  • To practice to see if it works. We have tested many numbers throughout the county and we know it works.
  • As a game, prank or joke. Meriwether County has an enhanced 911 system. This means the 911 equipment captures your call and knows where the call came from. It shows your telephone number, the subscriber’s name, address and the emergency service agencies that service your address. Each time the dispatch center receives a hang-up call they have to call the person back to determine if there is an emergency and also send an officer to your house. If you call as a prank or joke you are wasting dispatcher time, officer time and tying up the 911 emergency lines preventing someone else who really does have an emergency and needs help from reaching the 911 center. Making a false 911 call/complaint is a crime and you may be charged.

While on a 911 Call

If you need to call 911, please do the following:

  • Stay calm. Don’t get excited. Speak loudly and clearly. Dial 911 right away. Don’t wait for someone else to call.
  • If you need to call 911 from a location such as a school, business or hotel, you may need to dial special number(s) to reach an outside line before dialing 911.
  • If you dial 911 from a cell phone (vehicle phone) it will go to the nearest 911 center and you may have to be transferred to the appropriate agency. If possible provide the dispatcher with the nearest mile marker if traveling on a highway and reporting an emergency.
  • Tell the person who answers the phone exactly what is wrong, like this:
    • "My house is on fire."
    • "There was just a car accident in front of my house."
  • Explain what type of help you need-fire, police, and/or ambulance.
  • Tell them the exact location where the emergency is. Be sure to give the full address, including your apartment number if you live in an apartment.
  • Tell them the phone number you are calling from. If you are not calling from the same address as the emergency, tell them the address where you are.
  • Do not hang up until the Communications Officer on the telephone tells you to. They may need to ask you more questions to help the fire, police and/or ambulance service find you. Please remember we are not the personnel responding and it is in most case necessary to come back to you and ask you further questions after we have the basic information to get help started to you. 

Tips to Remember

If you accidentally call 911, stay on the line and tell the dispatcher what happened. This prevents the dispatcher from sending officers to your home and the need to investigate why a call came into the center. Please note: An officer may still be dispatched to your location.

Do not program 911 into the speed dial of your telephones. It is too easy to accidentally push the button to dial 911 and tie up dispatchers with non-emergency calls.

If you have cordless phones in your home, make sure you keep the batteries charged. When the batteries are dying on some cordless phones, they have been known to dial 911. It reaches the dispatch center as a hang-up call and we have to investigate each call we receive.