911: When to Call 911

911 can save your life or the life of a loved one. Fire, law enforcement and ambulance logs are filled with incidents where people have helped save lives and property by dialing 9-1-1. 911 is simplifying our lives, protecting us in emergencies and providing opportunities to help others in need. 9-1-1 is available through most of the U.S. as a means to easily report any emergency without looking up other telephone numbers.

Unfortunately, 911 systems can at times be abused and overloaded. There are many instances where 9-1-1 was dialed as a joke, to ask for information or to report a nuisance. In some areas of the country, these examples account for the majority of 911 calls. Please remember, dialing 9-1-1 is for an emergency and is serious. Calling unnecessarily can endanger someone else's life or property when they really do need help.

When should you call 911?

  • You witness or are the victim of a serious crime.
  • You smell smoke or see an uncontrolled fire.
  • You witness or are involved in a serious accident.
  • There is an emergency illness, injury or suspected poisoning.
  • When a child / senior citizen / handicapped person is lost, confused, frightened, or needs special assistance 
  • There is any situation that is potentially dangerous and you are not sure who to call.

What should I do if there's a fire in my home?

  • Do not use your home telephone to call.
  • Stay low and get out of your house immediately.
  • Call from your neighbor's house or from a pay phone.
  • Remember, you can call 911 from a pay phone and the call is free.

When calling 911, remember to give the following information:

  • The phone number you are calling from.
  • The address of the emergency.  Not sure exact address?  Be as specific as possible.
  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • What your problem or situation is.
  • Be calm. Speak clearly and remain on the line to answer all the dispatcher's questions as best you can.

Don't call 911 to:

  • Ask for a phone number you can't find in the book
  • Inquire if a particular business or park is open
  • Ask the cost of overnight fees at area campgrounds
  • Complain about a barking dog
  • Request a copy of an accident report

911: Other Important Numbers

The following phone numbers are for non-emergency requests:

  • Dispatch Center: (641) 672-2557, (641) 673-8403

If you live in Mahaska County and the call to the dispatch county is long distance, you can call (888) 673-0347 at no cost to you.

Other Numbers

For administrative requests, use these office phone numbers:

  • Mahaska County Sheriff - Office Staff - Civil Division - Records: (641) 673-4322
  • Mahaska County Jail: (641) 673-2591
  • Oskaloosa Police Chief: (641) 672-2559
  • Oskaloosa Police Detectives-Records-Crime Prevention: (641) 673-3201
  • Dispatch Center Administration: (641) 673-0347

To report any drug-related activity and remain anonymous, call the Drug Activity Tip Line at 673-8404.

911: Reminders

1. If you live in rural Mahaska County and your rural house number sign or road name sign is damaged or missing, report it to the dispatch center at (641)     673-0347. Keep your house marker sign in good repair, straight, and clear of debris, vegetation, and snow.

2. Contact Iowa One Call 48 hours before you dig, (800) 292-8989. A careless construction accident has taken 911 down more than once.

3. When calling 911 please remember to stay calm, speak clearly and remain on the line to answer all the dispatcher's questions as best you can.

The Mahaska County Emergency Management-911 Communications Division is proud to be the only,

Total Response Accredited Center in the State of Iowa!