Cell Phones and 911

While cell phones can be an important public safety tool, they also create unique challenges for public safety and emergency response personnel and for cell phone service providers. Because cell phones are mobile, they are not associated with one fixed location or address. A caller using a cell phone could be calling from anywhere. While the location of the cell site closest to the caller may provide a very general indication of the caller's location, that information is not usually specific enough for rescue personnel to deliver assistance to the caller quickly. 

Depending on which cell tower picks up your cell phone signal, your call will be routed to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or a local police agency such as the Campbell Police Department. If the call is answered by CHP and something is occurring within a local police agency's jurisdiction, they will connect you with the appropriate agency. 

If you are calling from a cell phone to report an emergency occurring in the City of Campbell, you can dial the Police Department's emergency number at 408-378-8161.

When calling 911 from a cell phone it is helpful to keep in mind

    • Your call may be disconnected if the signal is lost. Be sure to call back if you are cut off. 
    • When calling 911 on a cell phone, be sure to stop if you are in a moving vehicle. It is difficult to obtain all of the information needed if you are getting further away from the emergency. 
    • Your call may need to transferred to another agency, so stay on the phone and wait for the new call-taker to begin asking questions. 

Show All Answers

1. What is 911?
2. When should I call 911?
3. What should I do when I call 911?
4. What if I call 911 by accident?
5. What if I need help, but it's not an emergency?
6. When should I not call 911?
7. What if I don't speak English?
8. What if I am speech or hearing-impaired and need to call 911?
9. Cell Phones and 911