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9-1-1 Bureau of Emergency Communications

Partners in Public Safety. Call 9-1-1: Save a Life, Report a Fire, Stop a Crime.

Phone: 503-823-0911

NON-EMER: 503-823-3333

PO Box 1927, Portland, OR 97207

Calling 9-1-1

  • Say "9-1-1" When You Call 9-1-1 from a Cell Phone

Why do I have to say 9-1-1 when I’m calling 9-1-1 from a cell phone?

When you call 9-1-1 in Multnomah County, you will be prompted to press a key or say “911” after hearing a brief recorded message.  If there is no response or selection after nine seconds, the call ends.

Why the recording, why not just patch the cell phone caller through? 

Calls to 9-1-1 from cell phones are predominantly how they are received.  Use of landline phones are on the decline.  Pocket dialing to 9-1-1 remains an issue as mobile devices placed in pockets or purses inadvertently dial 9-1-1, thus creating the need for 9-1-1 calltakers to verify if there is an actual emergency.  While education around pocket dialing 9-1-1 has been around for quite some time, it bears repeating.

Should you have to call 9-1-1 in Multnomah County, press a key or say 9-1-1, you will be connected to a calltaker.  At this point, say your location and let the calltaker now you have an emergency.  Remember that not all wireless 9-1-1 calls provide location information.  To get help quickly, be ready to answer the following questions:

  • Where is the emergency? (provide address, landmarks, street names, etc.)
  • What happened?
  • What number are you calling from?  Always give your area code and wireless number.
  • What exactly has happened?  Clearly describe what has taken place.
  • If reporting a crime, suspect and vehicle descriptions are important along with direction of travel as to where they have gone.

If using a phone without a service contract and the call is disconnected, you MUST redial 9-1-1!


9-1-1 Cell Calls

What to expect when you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone

How Does 9-1-1 Work?

Information about how your call gets to 9-1-1 and what happens next

When to Call 9-1-1

Call 9-1-1 to stop a crime in progress, report a fire, or call for an ambulance. If the situation is not an emergency, you should call 503-823-3333, the non-emergency number for all of Portland and Multnomah County.

Know When and How to Shelter-in-Place

"Shelter-in-place means to stay inside or go in the nearest building when a disaster strikes. It is a way for you to stay as safe as possible until the emergency is over."