911 Emergency


What is 911?

911 Emergency Communications provides the public with competent, timely and effective emergency and non-emergency public safety communication services to residents of St. Louis County.

The role of the 911 Emergency Communications Department is to provide the public with competent, timely and effective emergency and non-emergency public safety communication services.

Our Operations

For many years, we've maintained two 911 call centers, or PSAPs.  One was located at the Midway site near Virginia and an additional PSAP in the Duluth area. The two centers provided services to the North and South regions of St. Louis County.

The ARMER system allows radio dispatching to be completed from remote locations. New 911 phone systems that are internet protocol based have created the ability to route calls to a variety of backup call taker locations. 

History Statistics

Calling 911

When Should I Call?

  • When you need direct access to police, fire and medical assistance.
  • To report a crime in progress, a fire, a serious illness or injury or any situation requiring immediate response of the police, fire or ambulance services. 
  • When you have a less threatening situation which requires a non-immediate response from police, fire or ambulance such as noise/parking/traffic complaints.

The Call Taker will ask many questions including:

  • The address where help is needed
  • The nature of the problem
  • Your name
  • Your phone number

Do NOT call 911 for: road/travel information, legal advice, civil matters, telephone directory assistance, requesting transportation.

Do not call family members or friends and do not attempt to transport a seriously ill or injured person!!!

Wireless Calls

Not all cellular providers are equipped to provide precise location information of a wireless 911 call to a 911 call center. Therefore, it is important to note the following when making a 911 call from a wireless phone:

Provide your exact location:

  • the city you are in
  • the name of the road you are on
  • cross streets
  • major buildings
  • mile marker signs
  • exit ramp number

Know and be prepared to provide your wireless phone number, including area code, and your name.

Texting 911

Text-to-911 comes with challenges. For instance, emergency response may be lengthened due to the time it takes for a text to 911 to be typed and sent. Delivery of texts and speed of delivery are also not guaranteed. Here are several reminders to ensure the best service and response from dispatchers. 

If there is an emergency and you cannot call 911, take these steps:

  • Enter the numbers 911 in the "To" field.
  • Text your exact address and type of emergency.
  • Send the message.
  • Use simple words, but do not include abbreviations, emoji’s, pictures or slang.
  • Promptly answer questions and follow instructions.

Dispatchers prefer calls so they can get cues from background noise and voice inflections. If you text 911, dispatchers will ask if you can safely place a phone call.

The new service should only be used in emergencies. Texting 911 with a false report is a crime. If you accidentally send a text to 911, send another text, or call 911 to let the dispatcher know that there is no emergency.

Remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t.

Obtaining a 911 Address

The assignment of addresses is handled differently in rural St. Louis County than it is in municipalities.  

In rural St. Louis County
Addresses are assigned to primary structures by the St. Louis County 911 Communications Department.  You can reach the addressing division at 218-726-2921.  When requesting an address, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Parcel code number (parcel code lookup)
  • Name of road from which structure is accessed
  • Owner name/taxpayer name
  • Possible neighbors name(s) and each of their respective 911 address numbers
  • Legal description (legal description lookup)

Addresses will be assigned to raw land only if an application for a building or septic permit has been initiated.  A copy of the permit should be sent to:

St. Louis County 911 Communications Center
2030 N. Arlington Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811

In Municipalities:
Contact your city clerk for instructions on obtaining an address. 

Displaying 911 Signs

Properly displaying your red and white 911 address number sign assists emergency responders to quickly locate the incident reported.  Posting your address sign correctly may reduce the response time. The term "fire number" is obsolete and is no longer used.  The house number and road name is now the "address" or "911 address number".

Rural Address Sign Placement guidelines set the standards by which all rural address numbers are assigned.  The ordinance and guidelines also provide for the color, size, and installation rules by which all address signs are to be posted.

In rural St. Louis County
All new signs installed after March 2003 must contain the numbers on both sides of the sign and shall be installed perpendicular to the road.

All signs must contain a red background with white numbering and shall be of a reflective material. The bottom of a sign shall be no less than 4’ above the level of the road surface.

In Municipalities
Contact your city clerk for regulations regarding the posting of your house number.

The sign post shall be placed within 10’ of the driveway access and at least 10’ from the edge of the road surface.



In emergency or to file a report, call 911.

All contacts