Dialing 9-1-1

To report an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Your call will be promptly answered by the Allegheny County 9-1-1 center. The dispatchers there are specially trained to quickly relay information to the proper police, fire, and ambulance authorities, and may also be able to give you life-preserving or life-saving instructions until help arrives.

When you call 9-1-1, the dispatcher will ask you for the following information:

  • The exact location of the emergency, either a street address or intersection, highway mile marker or exit number, or a common business name
  • Your call-back phone number, in case the call disconnects
  • The exact nature of the emergency being reported
  • Your name


Depending on the nature of the emergency you’re reporting, the dispatcher may ask you more specific questions to better help emergency responders, or may give you instructions to help yourself or others around you. These pre-arrival questions and/or instructions are only given after help has been dispatched, and do not in any way delay an emergency response.

Other Pointers

  • It is important to stay calm, speak clearly, and remain on the line until the dispatcher instructs you to hang up.
  • 9-1-1 is a free call from public telephones, and is TDD- and TTY- compatible.
  • Do not dial an area code when dialing 9-1-1. Your call will be routed to the correct emergency dispatch center based on the location from which you dial 9-1-1.
  • If you aren’t certain whether or not your call concerns an emergency, you should err on the side of caution and dial 9-1-1.


Enhanced 9-1-1

Allegheny County’s emergency dispatch center offers Enhanced 9-1-1 service and Phase II Wireless location service. This means that when 9-1-1 is dialed, a caller’s location is displayed for a dispatcher. However, the dispatcher will always ask for the location (address, highway mile marker, business name, etc.) where the emergency is taking place. Here’s why:

  • A caller may be reporting an emergency taking place at another location.
  • The Enhanced 9-1-1 system does not display a caller’s address when he/she uses a third-party calling service such as On-Star, medical alert services, translation services, etc.
  • With Phase II Wireless, calls made from cellular phones give GPS coordinates (latitude/longitude) from which the phone call is made, and can overlay the coordinates on a map. However, the location is only accurate to between 50 and 300 meters. In a suburban or urban setting, this means you could be several houses away from the marker, on a different floor, or in a different suite.


So if you dial 9-1-1, you should always be prepared for the dispatcher to ask where the emergency is taking place, and you should be ready to provide that location if you’re physically able.


Text to 9-1-1

If you’re an AT&T, Sprint, T-Moible, or Verizon Wireless customer and have an emergency in Allegheny County in which you cannot make a voice call to 9-1-1, you can now text 9-1-1 for an emergency response. County officials caution that texting is not instantaneous, and that you will still have to provide the exact location and nature of the emergency within the text message. For more information, check out Allegheny County Emergency Services’ website.


Reporting Non-Emergency Situations

If you have a situation which you know not to be an emergency—barking dogs, parking problems, litterbugs, etc.— you can call the dispatch center’s non-emergency number:

Dispatch Center, Non-Emergency:  412-473-3056

Administrative, business-oriented calls for fundraising information, billing information, and copies of reports may be made directly to police, fire, and ambulance administrative offices during normal business hours:

McCandless Police:  412-369-7992

Ingomar Volunteer Fire Company:  412-364-3571

Highland Volunteer Fireman’s Association:  412-366-3473

Peebles District Volunteer Fire Company:  412-364-2112

McCandless Fire Marshal:  412-364-0616

McCandless-Franklin Park Ambulance Authority:  412-367-5883