Quick Tip: When you should and should not call 911

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Some emergencies are obvious, but according to the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, forty percent of 911 calls are not true emergencies. Those calls waste first responders' precious time and prevent them from getting to more serious situations.

The department's executive director, Mary Ellen Carroll, gave us some tips on how to know when you should call 911.

#1 Call 911 if there is immediate danger to life or property, such as a medical emergency or a fire.

#2 Call 911 if there is a crime in progress.

If the problem is not urgent, but you still need help, call 311 instead of 911.

311 situations include things like a car burglary that has already happened, reporting illegally parked or abandoned vehicles, and requesting street or park maintenance.
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