A civic address, often referred to as a ‘fire number’ identifies the location of a property. When you call 9-1-1 in an emergency, the operator needs your civic address to send emergency services.
In Grey County, all private and publicly owned buildings must have a posted civic address. Civic addresses are assigned by the municipality or by the county on behalf of the municipality. Civic addresses are also given to public spaces such as parks and arenas. They can also be given to agricultural properties, located at field entrances, at the request of the property owner.
A complete civic address is made up of three parts:
- A property number 102599
- A road name Grey Road 18
- A municipality Georgian Bluffs
Your civic address may be different from your mailing address. If you don’t know your civic address, or you require a new one for a piece of property, please contact your local municipal office.
In urban areas where the building is less than 15 meters from the road, the civic number is posted on the building.
In rural areas civic numbers are displayed on a green sign that is posted at the property entrance.
First responders need to see your sign. If it’s blocked by snow or bushes, first responders may not be able to find you. Make sure your number can be seen from the road while travelling in either direction.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain the number sign. You can replace a lost or damaged green civic address sign by contacting your local municipal office.
In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 for fire, police or ambulance if immediate action is required.
Calling from a landline telephone
Enhanced 9-1-1 service is provided in Grey County. This service automatically provides a caller’s phone number and address to the 9-1-1 operator. You can make calls during power outages, because land line phones don’t require power from within the home. (Cordless telephones do not work during power outages)
Calling from a cell phone
Cell phones aren’t associated with a fixed address so it’s hard for 9-1-1 operators to pinpoint the location of the call. When a wireless 9-1-1 call is made, the wireless carrier connects the call to the call centre serving the area where the call was made.
Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 service is provided in areas that receive Enhanced 9-1-1 service. With Enhanced 9-1-1, wireless carriers use Global Positioning System (GPS) and/or Triangulation technology to identify a 9-1-1 caller’s location (generally within 50 to 300 meters of the cell phone). The emergency call and the caller’s location are automatically transmitted to a 9-1-1 call centre serving that area.
If you have a cell phone but are not subscribed to any service, you can still dial 9-1-1 in an emergency and receive basic wireless 9-1-1 service. You will have to provide your location.
Remember, you cannot send text messages to 9-1-1.
Calling from a VoIP phone
A VoIP phone uses the internet. Although it may look like a landline, it doesn’t use Enhanced 9-1-1 service to provide a location. Please consider the following for emergency calls:
- Make sure your location information is up to date with your service provider. The operator may assume that you are at the last registered address if you are not able to speak during a 9-1-1 call.
- You cannot make 9-1-1 calls with a VoIP phone during power or internet outages.
- If you have a choice between using a landline, a cell phone or a VoIP phone to call 9-1-1, the landline should be your first choice.
- If you do not have a landline, write down your exact address where it can be accessed or viewed easily.
Pocket Dial Calls and Hang Ups
Every 9−1−1 call is taken seriously. When a caller doesn’t respond, that could be a sign of trouble. If you have called 9−1−1 accidentally, do not hang up. Let the operator know it was a pocket dial. If you hang up, an operator will call back to confirm that there is no emergency. If you don’t answer, a police officer will be dispatched to confirm that you are okay. This takes resources away from others emergencies.
Ensure children are informed on the importance of only calling 9-1-1 for real emergencies.
When you’re not using your mobile device, turn it off or lock the keypad
Do not program your mobile device to automatically dial 9-1-1. If your mobile device is pre-programmed with the auto-dial 9-1-1 feature turned on, turn the feature off.
Examples of when to call 9-1-1
- When it is a life-threatening emergency situation: car accident with injuries, medical emergencies, fire, attacks, gunshots
- When a crime is in progress: fights, break and enters, or reporting an impaired driver
- When a crime has just occurred: robbery, assault
- When a crime is about to happen: prowler or vandalism
Examples of non-emergency calls
- Reporting a crime with no suspect: theft of a licence plate
- Reporting a crime with suspect, but suspect is not on the scene: fraud
- Non-emergency in-progress: noisy party, barking dogs
- On-going crimes that are not in-progress: graffiti
For non-emergency police assistance, please call your local ten digit non-emergency numbers.
If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Emergency operators will help determine if immediate action is required or if you should hang-up and dial the non-emergency line.
Calling 9-1-1 for a non-emergency ties up important lifelines meant for people or property at immediate risk. If you call 9-1-1 for a non-emergency, it will not result in a faster response. Emergency situations are always given priority.