Woman taking calls at call center in front of computer screens

911: Don't Hang Up!

9-1-1 is the number most people in the United States and some other countries call to receive help in a police, fire, or medical emergency. A 911 call goes over dedicated phone networks to the appropriate 911 public safety answering point (PSAP) for the caller’s location, and trained personnel then send the emergency services, if needed. 

What Should I Do If I Call 911 By Mistake?

The Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center answers emergency and non-emergency calls for service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and dispatches the appropriate help. Besides completed calls, the center receives almost 120,000 hang-up calls per year – and that can cause problems. 

If you call 911 by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP. Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is all right. 

If a caller to 911 hangs up without stating the problem, the caller must be contacted to ensure that no actual emergency exits, says Dominick Nutter, director of the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center. This may involve the dispatching of a law enforcement officer to your home or place of business to ensure that a problem doesn’t exist. This takes up additional time for call takers and can tie up important resources that could otherwise be responding to legitimate emergencies.

One common misconception that residents have about dialing 911 by mistake is that they will get into trouble. This is not true.

What Should I Do If 911 Doesn't Answer?

Please do not hang up if 911 doesn’t answer right away when you call. Stay on the line – your call WILL be answered. 

During periods of increased call volume, the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center is implementing an automatic acknowledgement on 911 calls. The purpose of the automatic acknowledgement is to:

  • Immediately recognize the call in the 911 system
  • Inform callers that they have reached 911
  • Instruct caller not to hang up 

911 callers will hear a pre-recorded message: “You have reached Raleigh Wake 911, please, do not hang up. We are experiencing higher than normal call volume and your call will be answered by the first available 911 operator, please do not hang up.”

Also, remember that if you can’t make a voice call, you can text 911.  

Many 911 hang-up calls are caused by our area code, 919, being similar to the 911 emergency number. The 10- digit dialing requirement was put into place in the 919-area code in 2012 and that immediately caused an increase in the number of misdials coming into the 911 call centers in the Triangle. The issue continues to this day.



Emergency Communications
Non-Emergencies: 919-829-1911

Lead Department:
Emergency Communications