These Are the Top 7 Situations When the Cops Need to Be Called

At some point in your life, you may find yourself in a scary situation. You may not be sure if it warrants a call to the police, but it you hesitate, even more trouble could arise.

In certain situations, you should always call 911. Here are the top seven circumstances in which the cops definitely need to be called, including the general rule you should alway stick to (page 7).

1. There’s a fire

House on fire

House on fire | paylessimages/Getty Images

No matter how small a fire may be, call 911 immediately. Ty Wooten, an education director for the National Emergency Number Association, urges you to call the police — even if it seems like a fire you can put out on your own. It can spread rapidly, so be sure to get the help you need sooner rather than later.

Next: 911 is always a good idea in this situation.

2. It’s a medical emergency

Feeling pain

Feeling pain | Andrey Popov/iStock/Getty Images

If you or someone else is experiencing a life-threatening medical problem, calling 911 is always a good idea. Those emergencies might include “chest pain, choking, difficulty speaking, drowning, numbness, poisoning, sudden intense pain, severe burns,” or anything else you suspect might be a serious problem.

Next: You could be of great help to an officer for this.

3. You’re witnessing a crime

Reporting a Crime

Reporting a crime | DGLimages/Getty Images

Call 911 as soon as possible if you witness a crime such as assault, burglary, or any other suspicious activity. “Go with your gut feeling,” Wooten advises. “If you call, an officer might catch the criminal in the act and foil the crime.”

Next: No matter how minor, call 911.

4. You or someone else has been in a car crash

NEW YORK - APRIL 11: Emergency tape surrounds the scene where a car that crashed into the base of the steps of the state Supreme Court building in downtown Manhattan April 11, 2008 in New York City. The car jumped the sidewalk, smashed into a coffee cart and went up several steps, pinning a man in the process. At least six people were injured.

Car accident | Daniel Barry/Getty Images

Even for what seems like a minor car crash, go ahead and call 911. Wooten specifically advises calling if “someone is hurt or feels dizzy or unwell.”

Next: Call 911 for yourself or someone else.

5. Domestic violence

Couple arguing in a marriage counseling or divorce proceedings

Couple arguing | AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you are experiencing domestic violence yourself or you hear your neighbors in a dispute, your safest option is calling 911.

The Domestic Violence Information website advises, “It is important to remember that if you are concerned about the safety of the abused woman, her children, or your own safety, you should call the police. Do not hesitate to contact the police in a potentially life-threatening situation!”

Next: Don’t wait until you’re with them to call.

6. A suicide threat

Man comforting his sad mourning friend

Man comforting his sad mourning friend | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

If someone tells you they plan on hurting themselves or have suicidal intentions, call 911 immediately. Patty Fleener M.S.W. assures, “Law enforcement will come to the person’s home and take them to be evaluated by a mental health person. Even if you feel in your heart, that they will not take their life, you go by what they are telling you.”

She added, “Don’t wait to get over to their house to call 911.”

Next: Here’s what you should always trust.

7. Your gut tells you to

young woman got bad news with her smart phone

Making a phone call | dragana991/Getty Images

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure if the police can help, use your gut to make that decision. According to WebMD, “Most of us have a sense for when a situation is dangerous. If your instinct or intuition tells you it’s serious, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.”

It’s better to be overly cautious than to wait until it’s too late, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and dial 911.

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