When To Call 911?

When Should I call?

Call 911 for emergencies only

What is an Emergency?

An emergency is when there is an immediate threat to life and/or property. Including crimes in progress, all types of fires and serious illness or injury. If you are not sure, err on the side of safety and call 911

What can I expect when I call 911?

You will be asked several important questions. Try to remain calm and focus on what the dispatcher is asking and answer all questions to the best of your ability. Don’t hang up until told to do so. You may be put on hold while emergency services are dispatched or your call may be transfered to another county if it is determined the emergency is located in another jurisdiction.

What questions will I be asked?


Where is the emergency? This is the most important piece of information you can give the dispatcher. Be aware of your surroundings, if you do not know the address and are outside; look around you for landmarks and cross streets. If you are traveling giving your last known location and your destination will help. If you are in a building, give the floor and apt number if appropriate. Never assume we already have your location. For more information go to Know Your Phones Capabilities


What is the emergency you are reporting? What kind of fire? What kind of accident? What kind of illness? What kind of conflict? If it is determined your call is not an emergency, you may be asked to call in on the business line.


When did this incident start or happen? Is it happening now or did it happen yesterday?


Who is involved in the incident? Who is injured? Who is fighting? Who is in the burning building? What is your name?

Call back number?

In case we get disconnected we need a call back number. Or if we hang up and then need more information, we may call you back. Yes we have caller ID but we need to verify that it is correct and that it is the best number to call you back on.

What if I can’t talk?

You can send a text from a cell phone or you can dial 911 and put the phone down so the dispatcher can hear what is happening. With the help of computers the dispatcher will try to find your location.

What if I dial 911 by accident?

If you dial by accident or the situation has resolved itself, stay on the line and let the dispatcher know what is happening. If you hang up, the dispatcher will assume something is wrong and call you back and/or send help to you anyway.

What if my call is not an emergency?

The business lines are answered 24 hours a day by pressing ‘0’ for dispatch. The lines listed below all ring to the Public Safety Center.

Winnebago Co Sheriff’s Dept

641-585-2828 or 800-473-2228 Opt 0

Forest City Police Dept

641-585-2113 Opt 0

Lake Mills Police Dept

641-592-2188 Opt 0