What Happens When You Call 911?

By design, dialing 911 will bring help from Galveston County Sheriff's Department, Local Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).    This page will help explain PEMSI's part of the trio.


Most 911 systems answer each  call with  "911- What is your emergency?"  The operator is listening for clues to decide what you need.  Consider these items:

  • Is the patient in danger, sick, injured or having symptoms that you cannot ease?

  • Could the condition become worse with time or has it become worse before you called?

  • If you move the person yourself could you do more harm?

  • Do you need assistance that you are not qualified to provide?

  • Will beach traffic slow you down if you took the patient by car?


If any of these are true...it is time to call 911 NOW.

What if you are just NOT SURE?

Calling 911 will put you in touch with a trained  dispatcher who will be able to ask questions to help you decide what to do.  Calling friends, neighbors, caregivers who may or may not be home...will only delay what could become a life threatening condition.

If ANY of these apply - Call 911 At Once!

Chest Pain

Fast Heartbeat

Shortness of Breath

Fainting, Dizzy, Weak, Confused

Sudden Vision Problem



Burns or Severe Burns

Allergic Reaction

Poisoning or overdose

Sudden and Severe Pain

Threat of hurting or killing themselves.


If you are at  house,  KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.  If the house numbers are small or obstructed, tell the 911 operator what vehicle to look for in the driveway, the color, location it is parked, the license number and type of vehicles at the house. Make sure your house front door is unlocked.  

If you are on the beach describe the vehicle as above with color, type of vehicle, license number and other information that may help spot you. Turn on your emergency flashers, day or night.

When driving onto the beach note the street you drove down and direction (left or right) that you went on the beach, Note the Trash Barrel Number and direction to that barrel.  

Be as specific as possible.

Calling 911 By Mistake

If you find yourself on the end of a call to 911 made by mistake DON'T HANG UP.   Stay on the line and tell the operator it was a mistake.   

 Hanging up a 911 call is considered an emergency situation and may result in Fire, EMS and Galveston Sheriff's Officers arriving at your door.  It is likely that they will show up anyway just to be sure.

Matt Summers, PEMSI EMS Director