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1. A fire breaks out. Any fire — even a tiny grease fire in your kitchen — merits a 911 call. A fire can grow and spread rapidly, so call right away even if you think you can put out the flames on your own.
In rural areas many agencies conduct controlled burns that may appear to be wildfires, and many farmers/ranchers burn ditches to clear grass and debris. If you are unsure if the burn is controlled or not, please do not hesitate to call 911 or the non-emergency number.
2. A medical emergency happens. Call 911 immediately for any life-threatening medical problem. These include chest pain, choking, difficulty speaking, drowning, numbness, poisoning, sudden intense pain, severe burns, a suicide threat and other serious medical problems, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.
3. You witness a crime or possible crime. Call 911 immediately if you witness a crime in progress such as an assault, a burglary, hit-and-run, or other crime. Early reporting of a crime ensures the most accurate possible documentation and swift investigation of the crime. Please reserve 911 for immediate emergencies. For crimes not currently in progress, please call the non-emergency number, or the police directly.
4. If you’re in or you see a car crash or hit-and-run. Call 911, especially if someone is hurt or feels dizzy or unwell. For a minor fender-bender with no injuries, and no hazard to other traffic or pedestrians, you can call the non-emergency number for dispatch, or the police directly.
Misuse of 9-1-1 is a class A misdemeanor, which is the most acute of all Oregon misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in a county jail or a maximum fine up to sixty-two hundred fifty dollars. See ORS 165.570 https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/165.570
If you have to call 911, here’s what to do:
That seems obvious, but 911 centers get callers who ask about the weather, current road conditions and even the number for the local pizza joint. Many frequently used public safety related numbers can be found on our homepage.
Other reasons not to call:
Remember that you can reach a police, fire, or medical dispatcher 24 hours a day at 541-575-0195 for all issues.
Many 911 centers operate with only a few dispatchers, so if you call for the wrong reasons, you could delay help for someone with a real emergency.
Remember, misuse of 9-1-1 is a class A misdemeanor, which is the most acute of all Oregon misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in a county jail or a maximum fine up to sixty-two hundred fifty dollars. See ORS 165.570 https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/165.570