Calgary, AB,

The City reminds Calgarians the importance of knowing your exact location when calling 9-1-1

Calgary 9-1-1 estimates that about 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls are placed from wireless phones, and that percentage is growing. Wireless phones are important safety tools, but because they are mobile, they aren’t associated with one fixed location or address. This mobility makes it harder for both service providers and 9-1-1 call takers to pinpoint the exact location of a 9-1-1 call. For this reason, it is important that everyone knows their location – whether they are at home or elsewhere when calling 9-1-1.

“The most important piece of information we need when someone calls 9-1-1 is the exact location of the emergency,” says Doug Odney, Calgary 9-1-1 Commander. “The more information about your location our 9-1-1 call takers have to provide to the first responders, the quicker help can reach you,”

If the call to 9-1-1 is from a cell phone, current technology cannot always provide an exact location. The 9-1-1 call-taker only receives XY coordinates which can vary in accuracy depending on the model of the cell phone, cell phone provider, and the geography of the location the call is being made (i.e. downtown core vs. Nose Hill Park). Cell phones XY coordinates also do not tell Calgary 9-1-1 if the caller is in a building, the floor they are on, or if they are north, south, east or west of the coordinates.

Tips for 911 calling:

  • When making an emergency call to Calgary 9-1-1, you must be able to provide the call-taker with your location – whether at home or elsewhere.
  • If you call from a cell-phone, current technology cannot always provide the 9-1-1 call-taker with your exact location.
  • Be prepared; pay attention to street addresses, cross streets and landmarks.
  • Pathway location markers – signs that display a unique location code - can be found in some of our city’s parks.
  • When you have a choice, use a land-line to call 9-1-1.

If possible, always call 9-1-1 from a land line rather than a cell phone. A phone that plugs directly into the phone outlet will still give access to 9-1-1 when there is a power outage.

It should be noted that, Internet or cable-based phones, also known as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, may not automatically connect you to your local area 9-1-1 Centre. Find out from your VoIP service provider how you will be connected to 9-1-1 services prior to an emergency. Always know your location.

For more information please visit

Local media are welcomed to make use of and repurpose copies of the video and sound files found on the dropbox linked below.

Featured spokesperson: Calgary 9-1-1 Commander Doug Odney

Please click here to access the dropbox files: