Information on Calling 911

Translated 911 fliers

Contacting 911 in Snohomish County

  1. Know your location
  2. State your emergency
  3. Stay on the line

When Contacting 911 

When contacting 911 there are a few things you should know. These tips will help you and the 911 responders in an emergency. Help us help you by being prepared. 

  • Know your location! Describe your location using the city and street address. If you do not know your location refer to intersections, building landmarks, mile markers, or street signs to communicate where you are located. 
  • Stay calm and communicate clearly. Be ready to follow the dispatcher’s instructions. Dispatchers are trained to ask questions to prioritize your incident. 
  • Keep your answers brief and to the point. 
  • If it is safe, do not disconnect until the dispatcher tells you to do so.

A woman and child hug

Helpful 911 Tips 

  • Remember that 911 may not automatically know your location. 
  • Keep your address and telephone number posted in a visible, easily accessible location. 
  • Teach your children when (types of emergencies) and how to use 911. (Note: If you give your child an old phone to use as a toy or to practice calling 911, remove the battery.) 
  • Leave the residence if there is a fire. Contact 911 from a neighbor’s phone or a cell phone. 
  • Make sure the address on your residence is clearly visible to emergency responders. Provide lighting so the lettering or number­ing on the building is visible at night.

Texting 911

Text-to-911 is available in Snohomish County and should be used ONLY for emergencies and ONLY when you can’t safely make a voice call. More than 90% of current texts to 911 are from people who should have called, so please help us reserve text-to-911 for those who truly need it. Dispatch centers are also able to answer calls from those who use teletype devices (TTY).

Appropriate examples for texting 911 could include: 

  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or you have speech impairments 
  • If you are unable to speak for any reason 
  • If speaking out loud would put you in danger. Examples include an intruder in your home, abductions, domestic violence incidents, or active shooter scenarios

9-1-1 on red background. "Call if you can. Text if you can't."

How to Text 911

· Always CALL 911 if you can!

· Ensure texting service is activated on your phone plan.

· Send your location and type of help you need in the first text.

· Not all counties in Washington State currently accept Text-to-911.

· 911 does not currently accept photos or videos sent by text message.

· Never text and drive.

Keep 911 Available for Emergencies 

A non-emergency number is available in Snohomish County. If you have a non-emergency, please call 425-407-3999. The non-emergency number does not accept text messages.

Examples of non-emergencies include:

· Illegal fireworks complaints

· A crime that happened earlier and there is no suspect information

· A found pet, wallet, or other property

· Emergency services personnel are needed but there is no immediate danger to life or property

Report power outages to Snohomish County PUD at 1-877-783-1001.

Is English Your Second Language?

If you speak little or no English, 911 dispatchers will try to connect you to an interpreter as quickly as possible. 

  • Prepare by learning how to say in English the type of emergency service you need (police, fire or medical) 
  • Let the dispatcher know the language you speak (Spanish, Korean, etc.)

Important: The 911 texting service is only available in English at this time.

All above information provided by the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management. You can download a brochure version here, with a QR code linking to this page.