Make The Right Call

Montgomery County residents Make the Right Call by using

  • 9-1-1 only for emergencies,
  • 301-279-8000 only to report non-emergencies, and
  • 3-1-1 for general Montgomery County government information.

IMPORTANT:  9-1-1 is equipped to accept text messages. 
301-279-8000, 3-1-1, and 240-777-0311 ARE NOT equipped to accept text messages. 
Having a better understanding of when to call each of these three important phone numbers will help ensure that your specific need is most effectively met. As you read on, please know that the examples listed are meant to provide guidance.  We have not included every possible incident for which you might need to contact 9-1-1, 301-279-8000, or 3-1-1.

make the right call

When to call 9-1-1:

ONLY TO REPORT EMERGENCIES to Police, Fire/ Rescue, and to request an ambulance -- Available 24/7

  • Any life-threatening situation - fights, weapons, personal-injury vehicle collisions
  • A sexual assault that is in progress or has just occurred
  • An immediate fear for your personal safety or the safety of others
  • A serious crime in progress - robbery, burglary, assault
  • Any type of fire
  • Any serious medical problem that requires an ambulance or other immediate medical response

What should you (the caller) do when you call 9-1-1:

  • Remain calm and speak clearly
  • Be prepared to answer where, what, when, who, and how
  • Let the call taker ask the questions
  • Stay on the phone if it is safe to do so, or until the call taker advises you to hang up
  • If the call requires transfer to another agency, stay on the line. You may hear a series of clicks as the transfer occurs.
  • Understand that if the 9-1-1 center is extremely busy and your call is not answered within approximately 15 seconds, you will hear a recording indicating that operators are busy. The tones that follow the recording support devices for the hearing impaired. Stay on the line, do not hang up and call back.

What you’ll be asked when you call 9-1-1:

  • The location of the emergency – the exact address, intersection, place name (for example shopping center, school, hotel, etc.)
  • The nature of the emergency (what is going on right now, description of people and/or vehicles involved, any weapons involved, how long ago did the incident occur)
  • If it is a medical emergency you will be asked questions about the patient’s physical condition
  • Your (the caller’s) name and telephone number – a request to remain anonymous will be honored
  • Whether you want an officer to respond to see you
  • To be prepared to follow any instructions the call taker gives you. Call takers can provide step-by-step information about what to do until help arrives.

If you inadvertently dial 9-1-1 – DO NOT HANG UP:

  • Stay on the phone and advise the call taker that you mistakenly dialed 9-1-1 and that you do not have an emergency.
  • If a 9-1-1 call is abruptly disconnected, the call taker will attempt to call the number back.
  • If a caller does not confirm whether or not there is an emergency, police may be dispatched to the location from which the call was made.
  • To prevent inadvertent calls to 9-1-1, keep phones out of reach of toddlers and small children.
  • Use your phone wisely. Responding to unnecessary calls needlessly burdens the emergency call taker and the system, leaving the call taker unavailable for true emergencies.

When to call the Police Non-Emergency Number 301-279-8000:

TO REPORT LESS SERIOUS CRIMES, not to ask general questions -- Available 24/7

  • A noise complaint
  • A parking violation
  • A property damage traffic collision where there is no personal injury
  • Loose or barking dogs
  • To report that you were a victim of a crime that is not in progress
  • To report a suspicious person, vehicle, or situation

When to call 3-1-1 (Outside of the County call 240-777-0311):

TO RECEIVE NON-EMERGENCY INFORMATION ABOUT MONTGOMERY COUNTY GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES --M-F 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., closed weekends and holidays – A website, is available 24/7.

The County will announce when the MC311 Center has been activated outside of regular hoursto receive calls.  This occurs during emergencies such as hurricanes, snow storms, etc.

  • For Ride On bus information
  • To discuss your Montgomery County property tax bill
  • For recycling and trash pick-up information
  • For road and pothole repairs
  • For building, construction, and zoning information
  • To schedule construction permitting inspections
  • For Health and Human Services Information

Special Caller situations: Deaf/hearing/speech-impaired callers

  • 9-1-1 and 301-279-8000 are equipped with the TTY/TDD interface
  • For TTY at the MC311 Center, call 301-251-4850
  • MD Relay service is available by dialing 7-1-1
  • For more information on MD Relay, go to

English as a second Language:

  • Montgomery County subscribes to a Language Interpretation Service that is available for 9-1-1, 301-279-8000, and 3-1-1.
  • When language interpretation is needed, callers will be connected to the language interpretation service. When conferencing the interpreter into the call, the caller may hear a series of beeps and tones. Do not hang up. Stay on the line until all three parties are on the phone together.
  • The interpreter will ask the caller questions, then translate to the call taker. The call taker will then ask the interpreter questions to ask the caller.