How do I call 911 from another area?

My aunt lives in New York. I live in Maryland. We’re about to set her up with an emergency response system so that if she falls (again) the system will call someone to help her. Obviously, her neighbors will be first on the calling list, but if they’re not home, it will call me and other relatives not in her area. (If none of these gets, through, it calls the local 911.)

So if I get the call and need to get an ambulance to her, how can I reach 911 in her area?

Since dialing 911 on your phone will get your local emergency response, the best you can do is to find the local police dispatch number for her city and call that number. Not quite 911, but you will get connected to the right people.

This sort of situation probably arises quite often with cell phones. One time, a friend’s car was broken into at the edge of a suburb; he called 911 and got the adjacent major city’s emergency services because the cell tower was in the city. The dispatcher couldn’t transfer to the suburban police department, and couldn’t provide a phone number for them. Then someone called directory assistance and literally asked for the number for 911 (the suburban one), then for the local police department. Someone else tried using a payphone. It was over an hour before the police arrived. There was a language barrier involved, and the situation wasn’t really an emergency. Still, if it had been a time-critical emergency, I wonder how long it would have taken to get help.

Calling a local dispatch number would probably be the best thing to do; maybe a hospital in your aunt’s area could provide the number you should call. Or maybe it would be better to have the system configured to call 911 if the neighbors aren’t home. It might be best to call someone who can provide assistance directly.

I’m not sure exactly the protocol you are describing, but if she is calling you ONLY so you can call her local 911, she may as well just call her local 911 to begin with. Even if she can’t respond, they have her name and address automatically and they will break into the house if they need to. Otherwise, make sure you have her emergency numbers programmed into your phone, or written down in a convenient place.

OK, this may be a dumb question, but:
Does 911 correspond to some ordinary seven digit phone number? So I could dial 555-1234 (or whatever it is) instead of dialing 911?

I don’t suppose it’s just (local area code) + 911, is it?

Does she have the kind where she wears a medallion kind of thing, and pushes its button, which causes an autodialer to call the center with her ID, so they know something is wrong, but they don’t know what.

Yes, a nearby friend or two is best to start, then you and/or the local emergency number, which you can find out from Directory Assistance (and try it out, before you supply it to the system people). There should be a 10-digit number that brings you to the right people.

Most of the above doesn’t add much to prior posts, but here’s something else. It’s important that she doesn’t hesitate to push the button, so she needs to know that people she’s satisfied with would be the first ones to be called. My father had one, and twice came up with reasons not to use it when he should have used it. But once he did, and it was a good thing. Just want to emphasize this point.

Nope, 911 is a special number just like <CTL><ALT><DEL> is a special keyboard sequence.

This actually happened to me once. I was away at school, and a friend called me late one night from home to say she had just swallowed an entire bottle of heart medication. I needed her local emergency services, not mine, but after talking to the operator I discovered you can’t call 911 from another area code. I called the non-emergency police number in her city and explained the situation, and they sent a squad car to her house, so it was a happy ending (more or less – after all, how can a month in inpatient psych be a happy ending? At least it beat the alternative.)

However, there is a regular number which will reach emergency dispatch. It’s not always well-publicized, but should the computer system which runs 911 go down, local news media is called to alert people that they should call XXX-XXX-XXXX which will connect them to the same operators, etc.

Commasense, call a non-emergency number for the local police (one of the precincts, for example) where your aunt lives. Explain the situation and ask what number you can use to get emergency services dispatched to her aid should the necessity arise.

911 is driven by the physical location of the party dialing-I’m on the border of Adams and York Counties, so if I dial from a cell phone, it’s a toss of the coin which will be reached.

When setting up an alarm account, I call the local PD, FD, and Ambulance to see who dispatches them. Sometimes I get lucky and all calls will be routed through a County dispatch radio center. Otherwise, I have three different phone numbers to enter into the account matrix.

Call the local authority commasense. They will give you the apropriate number.

It has happened between two different countries!

Australian Man Reports New Zealand House Fire

It raises some questions as to why the people acted the way they did (ie. the woman didn’t think to bash on a neighbours door). Interestingly, this guy didn’t do what this thread is about (and what I would have tried to do), which is place a long distance emergency call. Rather he placed a local one, and let them track it down.