Natural Disasters & Emergency Services
Official Travel Information
In the event of a natural disaster, such as a flood, tornado, hurricane or earthquake, the United States has an intricate emergency management system that involves federal, state and local governments. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information in the event of a natural disaster or public health emergency.
In the United States, 911 is the universal emergency number and can be dialed toll-free from any phone. The 911 operators are trained to alert emergency responders — police, fire department and ambulance — if necessary. Do not be afraid to call 911 in a medical emergency. This number also is used for emergencies such as auto accidents, crimes in progress and fires. You can request language translation services if you do not speak English.
You cannot text 911 to report an emergency; you must call.
Check with your host or listen to local media for emergency updates. Some mobile phone companies provide emergency alerts to notify customers of threats to public safety, such as severe weather and chemical spills, and Amber Alerts for abducted children. Check with your mobile phone company to see if emergency updates are available when traveling internationally.
Important Phone Numbers
- Emergency (police/fire/ambulance): 911
- Local phone directory assistance: 411
- Long-distance phone directory assistance: 1-(area code)-555-1212
- Toll-free phone number assistance: 1-800-555-1212
- Traffic/construction on highways: 511