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9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch

The Buncombe County Emergency Communications Center is the central answering point for public safety agencies within our county. The center receives police, fire and EMS emergency requests from the public through an enhanced 911 telephone system.

Telecommunicators dispatch county fire and EMS agencies and transfer law enforcement calls to the appropriate dispatch center. Our center processes approximately 150,000 telephone calls each year with a staff of 13 full-time and 11 part-time employees.

About 9-1-1 Services

If you have an emergency, dial 911. Too dangerous to talk? Text 911.
For all non-emergencies, please call (828) 250-6650.

911 is a three-digit telephone number that you can call 24 hours a day for police, fire, or medical emergencies. Using 911 saves time in emergencies. According to nationwide statistics, it can take up to 2 1/2 minutes to find your telephone directory and then another 30 seconds to locate the correct number. In an emergency, three minutes is a long time — time that can be saved by calling 911.

When you call 911, your call is received by a trained communications specialist who takes your information and dispatches the appropriate police, fire, and/or medical services team located in your area.

Texting 911

Buncombe County Emergency Responders are now accepting texting as an option for contacting 911. However, there are some important details you should know:

If you can make a voice call, they prefer you not text

  • In an emergency, seconds matter, and 911 operators can get more information from you quicker from a voice call than from a texting conversation.
  • When you first text 9-1-1, they will ask if you can get to a location to make a voice call. If not, continue with the text conversation.

What are some situations that are good for texting 911:

  • If you are hiding and don't want to give your position away.
  • If you are in a domestic violence situation and need to discreetly contact first responders or the authorities.
  • If you have bad cell reception, sometimes it is difficult for calls to go through, but texts still have the ability to send.

If you text 911, what should you know beforehand:

  • Texting 911 has limited abilities to let first responders know your exact location, so if you text 911, make sure you specify your exact location.
  • Make sure you specify what kind of emergency it is. Is it a fire? Is it a medical emergency? Do you require law enforcement? Make sure to let them know in the initial text.


When using 911, remain calm and speak clearly. Tell the dispatcher what is happening, where it is happening, and your name, address, and phone number. Remain on the phone to provide additional information as needed. DO NOT HANG UP until the dispatcher advises you to do so.