Calling 911

Guidelines for Calling 911

911 is for emergencies only. 911 Dispatchers answer both 911 calls as well as general or business calls made to the Cambridge Police and Cambridge Fire business numbers (617-349-3300 for Police and 617-349-4900 for Fire) as well as other public safety non-911 numbers. Reserving 911 for emergencies enables 911 dispatchers to easily recognize and give highest priority to emergency callers while still being able to receive and promptly answer calls for service or non-emergency calls.

Here are examples of emergencies:

  • Life Threatening Situations
  • Fires
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents with injuries or that cause major traffic and street obstructions
  • Injuries requiring emergency medical attention
  • Hazardous chemical spills
  • Fire, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors sounding
  • Burglar alarms
  • Sparking electrical hazards
  • Smoke in a building
  • Any other potentially life-threatening EMERGENCY

If for some reason you do not feel comfortable calling 9-1-1, you may call 617-499-9924. This line is able to handle both voice and TTY calls.

Below are some situations when you should not dial 9-1-1:

  • Finding a towed vehicle (call 617-349-3300) or use the online tool
  • Asking directions in the city (if you must): call 617-349-3300 but please be patient as 911 dispatchers are often very busy.
  • Inquiring about school openings or closings (call 617-349-6513)
  • Reporting a blocked driveway or obstructed hydrant (call 617-349-3300)
  • Questions about snow emergencies or parking bans (call 617-349-4700 or 617-349-4800)
  • Reporting a noise complaint (call 617-349-3300)
  • Questions about traffic tickets (call 617-349-4700 - the Traffic department)
  • Seeking information from a police or fire office (check the phone book for specific numbers, call 349-3300 - Police switchboard or 349-4900 Fire switchboard if uncertain)
  • Asking about a late school bus (call both the Eastern Bus company at 617-628-6868 and the city’s - School bus office at 617-349-6862; each can radio drivers)
  • Reporting rust in the water or dirty water (call the Water Dept. at 617-349-4770)
  • Reporting garbage problems (call DPW at 617-349-4800)
  • Contacting a police officer at the police front desk (call 617-349-3301)
  • Reporting street lights out (call city’s Electrical Dept. at 617-349-4925)
  • No heat problem (call Inspectional Services at 617-349-6100)
  • Needing domestic violence help (non-emergency to Camb. Police unit at 617-349-3370 days; Transition House info. at 617-661-7203 24 hrs.)
  • Drug tip hot line (call confidentially to Police Vice unit at 617-349-3359)
  • Reporting problems with a building’s structure, etc. (Inspect. Dept. @ 617-349-6100)
  • Public health problem (call Inspect Dept. at 617-349-6100 or Hospital at 617-665-1000)
  • Checking on an animal control issue (call the Animal Control officer at 617-349-4376)
  • All other NON-EMERGENCY situations
  • MyPD
  • Citizen Observer

If you have a smartphone device and would like to connect directly with the Cambridge 9-1-1 Center, we encourage you to download the RapidSOS Haven app. Learn more about Haven and how you can receive a 10-year free subscription to the app just for being a Cambridge resident.  

Haven Mobile App

Contact Information

125 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02142


Hours of Service

Emergencies: 24/7 - 911
Administrative Office: M-F 8:30-5
Business Phone: 617-349-6911

Cambridge Alert Network

Cambridge Alert Network