Please note: 9-1-1 not available for 3G networks/mobile phones in 2022

From the North County Fire Protection District

If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you may need to upgrade your device before your mobile operator shuts down their 3G network to avoid losing service. For more information on your mobile operators’ 3G retirement plans and how you can prepare for them, contact your operator directly.

What is happening?

Mobile operators are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make way for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, many older cell phones will not be able to make or receive calls and texts, including 911 calls, or use data services. This will affect 3G mobile phones and some older 4G mobile phones that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE or HD Voice).

When is this happening?

As of January 1, although plans and timing for phasing out 3G services vary by company and are subject to change. Check your mobile carrier’s website for the most up-to-date information.

● AT&T has announced that it will complete the shutdown of its 3G network by February 2022.

● Verizon has announced that it will complete the shutdown of its 3G network by December 31st.

● T-Mobile has announced that it will complete the shutdown of Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31.

If your mobile carrier is not listed here, you may still be affected. Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk and several Lifeline mobile service providers use the networks of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

What do you need to do?

Contact your mobile phone provider or check your provider’s website for more information on their 3G retirement plan and whether your phone or other connected device may be affected. It’s important to plan now so you don’t lose connectivity, including the ability to call 911.

What happens when you call 9-1-1?

When you call on a landline or cell phone, the call is answered by the main public safety answering point. Once you indicate the nature of the emergency or the reason for calling 911, the primary PSAP will transfer your call to the appropriate police, fire, or medical agency. Please do not hang up but stay on the phone.

9-1-1 must know where to go

When you dial 9-1-1, you will be asked for the location of the emergency you are reporting. The dispatcher may not automatically know your location and ask you to confirm it. Be prepared to give as much detail as possible about your location. It is extremely important to provide an accurate address, especially when calling 9-1-1 by cell phone.

If you call 911 from a landline, the saved address and phone number will automatically appear on our screen. However, it is still necessary for the dispatcher to verify the address because sometimes the telephone company’s database has not been updated to the correct address or sometimes someone calls 911 for an emergency at a location. different.

If you call 911 from a cell phone, it does not display your exact location on the dispatcher’s computer screen, but shows the general vicinity of where you are calling from via GPS or triangulation.

Dial 9-1-1 and stay calm, be prepared

Try to stay calm, answer questions and follow all instructions. Professional dispatchers are trained to get information from you. Listen carefully and answer as precisely as possible.

Dispatchers will ask many questions, please do not hang up

Dispatchers are highly trained to assess each situation and notify the police or first responders so they are well prepared when they arrive. They can also give you instructions that can help save a life, even before emergency help arrives. Please do not hang up.

Is 9-1-1 for emergencies?

9-1-1 is for emergencies, not information. Citizens should call 911 for any matter related to an emergency, even if it does not appear to be life threatening. It is recommended to call 911 and speak to a dispatcher even if you are not sure if the situation is a real emergency. The dispatchers are there to help you! Remember that it is advisable not to call 911 if other people around you have already called and spoken with a dispatcher. When multiple calls for the same emergency arrive, this backs up the system and may delay response for other emergencies.

● If you have a power outage, call SDG&E, not 9-1-1.

● During a natural disaster, do not call 9-1-1 to ask questions about what to do or where to go.

Tune into your local news or go online to

● 2-1-1 is San Diego’s number for health and disaster services.

What if I’m put on hold?

Calls are answered in the order they are received, so if you hang up and call back, your call will go to the end of the queue, which may result in a slower answer.

9-1-1 dispatchers receive instant notification whenever a caller is on hold and will do their best to answer your call as quickly as possible.

What happens if I accidentally call 9-1-1? Am I going to get in trouble?

If you dial 9-1-1 incorrectly, do not hang up! Instead, stay on the line and tell the dispatcher you got the wrong number; otherwise, they will have to call you back. If they cannot reach you, a police officer may be dispatched to your location to make sure you are okay. This ties up valuable resources from real emergencies.

Should I just go to the fire station?

The first and most important reason you should never do this is that firefighters and paramedics may be out for another emergency. Second, by personally transporting your emergency, whatever it is, you increase the chances of causing a separate emergency. The more you know what to expect when you call 9-1-1, the faster help can reach you. Help is already sent. Stay calm, listen carefully, give information and follow instructions

Everyone should know the numbers. Train your whole family. Even a very young child can learn to recognize an emergency and dial 9-1-1.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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