- 911 is the number to call in case of any emergency. When calling 911 for an emergency, you will be asked if you need to speak to the police or to the fire department or ambulance. When choosing police, you will be routed to the nearest department; within the city limits to the HPD and outside the city limits to the Harris County Sheriff’s department. When choosing fire and ambulance, no matter whether you report a fire or medical emergency, you will most likely activate the fire department which will arrive with a fire truck and an ambulance. The ambulance may be owned by the fire department or called in from a local hospital or ambulance service. The reason a fire truck can be dispatched for a medical emergency is that a lot of fire fighters are also paramedics or have paramedics in their service. If the paramedics have their own ambulance, it is possible that only an ambulance will arrive. For traffic incidents, several departments may show up depending on location and circumstance.If you have an Internet phone, make sure it supports 911 and that you set up a profile with your current address and update it if you move.
Being a city close to the Gulf of Mexico, Houston is at risk of hurricanes. During a hurricane, electricity service can be interrupted for days and mobile phones needing to be charged and Internet phones depending on PCs won’t work. For that reason, it is strongly advised to also have a corded landline phone that enables you to have continued phone service to call in emergencies.
Houston Police Department (HPD) – 911 for Emergencies, 713-884-3131 for non-Emergencies, http://www.houstontx.gov/police/index.html
Police officers and the police chief are hired by the City of Houston and have to report to government officials, such as the Mayor of Houston. The HPD is responsible for all law enforcement inside the city limits. To report a crime, noise disturbance, gang activity, theft, car accident, etc. you contact the HPD.
Harris Country Sheriff – 911 for Emergencies, 713-221-6000 for non-Emergencies, http://www.hcso.hctx.net
The Houston Country Sheriff is elected by the people in Harris County and serves the citizens of that county. The Sheriff’s office also hires deputies to assist the Sheriff. The Harris County Sheriff’s office has many different departments, such as narcotics, child abuse unit, homicide and also manages the prison. To report a crime, car accident, etc. outside of the city limits, you contact the Harris County Sheriff’s office.
Harris County Constables – Precincts 1 – 8: http://www.co.harris.tx.us/constable/contacts.htm
Constables, or also called “Peace Officers”, are elected for each of their county department/precinct in Harris County and generally have fewer jurisdictions then a sheriff. They serve warrants, patrol neighborhoods, perform traffic control and enforce traffic laws, etc.
Texas State Trooper – 911 for Emergencies, http://www.txdps.state.tx.us
State Troopers report to the Texas Department of Public Safety and enforce traffic laws and regulations, investigate accidents in rural areas, apprehend wanted persons, educate in schools about crime prevention, and also assist local law enforcement if necessary such as emergencies.
Houston Fire Department (HFD) – 911 for Emergencies, http://www.houstontx.gov/fire
The fire department includes fire trucks, ambulances, safety units, hazardous material handling, rescue boats and special vehicles such as airport rescue, evacuation boats, etc. Employees may be fire fighters or paramedics. There are also many volunteer fire departments outside the Houston City Limits that are activated when calling for an emergency. To report a medical emergency or a fire, you will contact the fire department/ambulance.