When You Call 911

New Hanover County’s Public Safety Communications Center handles calls for emergency services including vehicle collisions, welfare checks, emergency medical services (EMS), fire rescue, police, and other public safety calls. The county’s 911 operators receive approximately 400 calls every 24 hours from someone who needs emergency services. Additionally, the 911 center receives around 1,000 calls per day for other types of services and information.

If you need assistance with a non-emergency situation, please do not dial 911. Calling 911 for a situation that is not a serious threat to someone’s health or safety may tie up operators who are needed to respond to an active, life-threatening emergency.  

For non-emergencies, such as water, power, or cable outages call the non-emergency line at (910) 452-6120.

Call 911 immediately if there is a life-threatening emergency and you need help from medical, fire, or police services. It is also important to call 911 if someone is threatening harm towards themselves or others, acting violently, or is otherwise a serious threat to others.

The first thing you should hear if you call 911 from within the county is “New Hanover County 911, what is the address of your emergency?” After you give the 911 operator your location and a brief description of your situation, the following will take place:

  1. The appropriate emergency responders will be immediately dispatched to the location of the incident through the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
  2. The CAD system will prompt the 911 operator to ask you a series of questions for important details about the emergency. Although some questions may seem redundant or irrelevant, it is important that you answer them as clearly and accurately as possible.
  3. The 911 operator inputs your answers into the CAD system, and a radio dispatcher relays the information to the emergency responders.
  4. Depending on the situation, the 911 operator may give you instructions to assist with the emergency until help arrives. For example, in a serious medical emergency in which CPR is needed, the 911 operator will talk the caller through the steps that may help save a person’s life.
  5. The 911 operator will tell you when it is ok to hang up.

It is important to remain on the line until the 911 operator tells you it is ok to hang up in case the emergency responders need constant updates about your situation. By continuing to answer questions concerning medical conditions or suspects, you will help provide the emergency responders with information that will prepare them to address the situation as effectively as possible when they arrive on the scene.

If the situation does not pose a threat to someone’s health or safety, it is considered a non-emergency call. Call (910) 452-6120 for non-emergencies, such as water, power, or cable outages.

If you need assistance with a non-emergency situation, please do not dial 911. Calling 911 for a situation that is not a serious threat to someone’s health or safety may tie up operators who are needed to respond to an active, life-threatening emergency.

For additional information about New Hanover County’s 911 communications, visit the FAQs page.

Emergency Management & 911: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 115 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6900 • Fax 910-798-6904