When Should You Call 911?

Your home security system is there to, hopefully, keep you and your home protected against disasters and emergencies. But what about when something does go wrong and you find yourself in an emergency situation? It’s important to know what to do for your safety and the safety of anyone else with you. 911 may be your first instinct, but it’s important to know when you should and shouldn’t call this emergency number.

Let’s look at some of the situations that require you to act fast and call 911 ASAP, and others where you shouldn’t.


When to call 911 – If someone is breaking into your house, it is advised to call 911 immediately rather than trying to defend the house yourself, as this can escalate the situation and end very badly. If you are witnessing a crime in progress, then you should call 911 immediately if it is safe for you to do so, especially if anyone is in danger.

Serious crimes such as assault should always be reported to 911 as soon as it is safe, even if the crime has already been committed. The emergency services also advise calling 911 if you think you witness someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When not to call 911 – If you have witnessed a crime that has already occurred, then it’s not always necessary to call 911, particularly if no one is in danger. This includes things like theft and vandalism, or if you’ve come home to find that someone broke in while you were out.


When to call 911 –Someone should call 911 immediately if there is a fire in your home, office, or elsewhere. It’s not advisable to wait and see if you can put it out yourself (in the case of smaller fires) because fires can spread extremely quickly.

When not to call 911 – Don’t call 911 if there was a fire that has already been safely extinguished, unless anyone has suffered serious burns or smoke inhalation.

Medical emergencies

These are some of the medical situations that likely warrant a call to 911:

  • Serious head injuries
  • Some has fallen unconscious or is unresponsive
  • Broken and protruding bones
  • Persistent chest pain/pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Drug overdose
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Vomiting blood
  • Seizure
  • Symptoms of a stroke
  • A fever greater than 100.4 in infants under 3 months
  • Severe allergic reaction

Non-emergency number alternatives

So, what about the situations where you shouldn’t call 911? If your situation is not urgent and no one is in immediate danger, then you should call your local non-emergency line for the required service. You can find resources online to help you identify the correct numbers you need.

A professionally monitored home security system is a great choice for keeping you, your family, and your home safe. The emergency services can be contacted in situations that require them, sending help to your home even if you’re not there. Contact Carolina Alarm to find out more about our home security systems and monitoring services around Winston Salem, Kernersville, High Point, and Greensboro, NC.