Emergency Numbers for Expats in the US

Expat Life: Emergency Contacts in the US

Everything is in order, and it is time to make the big move to the US. Before you settle into your new home, it is imperative to recognize that accidents and emergencies will happen. It is not a matter of if, but when, so knowing the U.S. emergency phone numbers as an expat is important.

It is incredibly important to have a plan and know the exact steps to take to remain safe as an expat in a new environment.

Hospital Emergency Room

Be Prepared in a Crisis or Emergency

The best thing you can do is be prepared for any situation. Make sure to familiarize yourself with crucial numbers and information that will guarantee your safety and give you peace of mind.

Dialing 911

Nationwide Emergency Contact

America’s 911 systems have been the lifeline to public safety for over half a century. You will be able to dial this number from any cellphone or telephone that could be available in your surroundings.

Calling 9-1-1 will help you with any medical, fire, or crime-related emergency. An operator will answer and ask questions pertaining to the emergency in order to transfer your situation to the appropriate response team.

What to do in an emergency

What Happens When You Call 911

It is essential that you know the following information in order for the operator to send a response team as soon as possible: location of emergency, phone number you are calling from, type of emergency, and specific details about the emergency.

Here are the specific questions you will be asked:

Where: Where are you? Where is the scene?

What: What happened?

Who: Who’s involved? Is anyone hurt?

When: When did it happen? Is it going on right now?


When calling 9-1-1:

  • Do stay on the line as long as needed
  • Your call will be answered as soon as possible
  • Do have the information available
  • Write it down if necessary
  • Do let the dispatcher ask the questions
  • The dispatcher will determine how to best help you
  • The dispatcher may need to update information

How to Text 9-1-1

Texting 9-1-1 

For now, the best way to reach 911 is with a voice call. However, if you are unable to call or if it is unsafe for you to call, you can text instead if the service is available in your area.

911 Call If You Can Text If You Can't

It is recommended to call over texting when you can because 911 telecommunicators use background noise to help build situational awareness, and it prevents a delay in communication when speaking rather than texting.

Remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t.

Accidentally Calling 9-1-1 

If you happen to call 9-1-1 by accident, do not hang up! Your call will be interpreted as an emergency, so please stay on the line and explain that it was simply a mistake so that a response team is not notified.

Non-Emergency Assistance

For any non-emergencies but someone should still be notified, please call 3-1-1. This is a non-emergency municipal service that helps with non-working streetlights, parking meters, traffic lights, potholes, and road debris. It is supported in most states across the United States.

Calling 911 for help

Poison Control

Another emergency number to memorize is poison control. They can give you step by step instructions to mitigate the poisonous reaction until medical personnel arrive on scene.

  • Phone: 1-800-222-1222

Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides coordinated, federal response in the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergencies while working with federal, state, or local partners to ensure a swift and effective recovery effort.

FEMA Helpline

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mission is to support the citizens and first responders to promote that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. 

  • Phone: 1-800-621-3362

Covid 19 Testing

COVID-19 Resources

Have general questions about COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)

In addition to the nationwide emergency numbers mentioned above, make sure to keep a detailed list of the following local phone numbers:

  • Local police department
  • Local fire department
  • Local hospital
  • Physician’s office
  • Local pharmacy
  • Health insurance company
  • Personal emergency contacts


For additional information about the United States Federal 911 program, visit: https://www.911.gov/


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For over 25 years, International AutoSource has helped over 50,000 international and domestic assignees get a vehicle for their move to the United States.  

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