Reporting Emergencies


Emergency numbers for cell phone users

Within the city of Sacramento : 916-732-0100

From elsewhere in Sacramento county: 916-874-5111

Call 911 when you:

  • See fire.
  • Smell smoke or gas.
  • See or hear an explosion.
  • Need medical assistance or see someone who does.
  • See a suspicious person in or leaving a secured area.
  • See a person with a weapon.
  • See a suspicious package in a public area.
  • See someone being forcibly detained or taken against his or her will.
  • See or become aware of an immediate threat to life and/or property.
  • See something noticeably unusual or out of place that may present a threat.​

​When calling 911

Be prepared to answer these questions:

  • What is the address where the incident occurred?
  • Is the location a house, apartment or business?
  • What address are you calling from?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number?
  • When did the incident occur?
  • Can you describe the suspect (if applicable)?
  • What is the suspect's race, sex, age, height, weight, hair color and length?
  • Can you recall clothing, tattoos, piercings or other characteristics?
  • What was the suspect's mode of travel?
  • Was the suspect on foot, on a bike, driving a vehicle or taking a taxicab?
  • Did the suspect have a weapon? If so, what type?
  • Was it a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, knife, or pepper spray?
  • Where was the suspect when you last saw him or her, and in which direction did the suspect(s) travel — for example, north, south, east or west, toward the river, toward the freeway?​

What you can do as a witness

Cautiously observe the suspect

  • Avoid staring.
  • Start at the top of the head.
  • Note as much detail as you can.
  • Identify unique features.
  • Write down details before you start to forget.
  • Cautiously observe the vehicle.
  • Identify the make, model, and color.
  • Note the approximate year.
  • Identify the body style (sedan, SUV, roadster).
  • Mention any unique characteristics (stickers, dents, or other damage).
  • Note the license plate number and state.
  • Observe the direction of travel.

Before calling

Make sure you can identify your location. Call takers cannot send help if they do not know where you are.

When you call

A well trained call taker will answer the phone.
Wait for the call taker to ask you questions.
If possible, be prepared to hand the phone to the victim or witness if the call taker makes that request.

Don't actually call 911 to “practice" with your children

The Polly Klaas Foundation has recommendations for getting children comfortable with calling 911. Learn more at