25 Market St   Aberdeen, SD 57401

Office Hours 8:00-5:00 M-F

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What is 911?

The Nationwide Emergency Number in the United States is 911. In the event of an emergency, this one number can be reached to report medical, fire, or crime related emergencies.

When should I call 911?

911 is for emergencies.  If the situation seems urgent and has the potential to become dangerous to people or property, Dial 911


  • Crimes in Progress (ex. you see someone breaking into your neighbor’s house or car)
  • Fires
  • Medical Problems (such as

If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency, Dial 911.  All other calls should be directed to our non-emergency number at (605)626-7911.

What types of things should not be reported to 911?

Any call that is not an emergency should be handled on our Non-Emergency Line (605)626-7911. 


  • Lost or Found Pets
  • Crimes Not in Progress (ex. your car was broken into overnight)
  • Water Main Breaks

If you are ever unsure, Dial 911.

What if I’m not sure whether my situation is an emergency or not?

If you’re not sure, Dial 911.  We are trained to determine the severity of situations and send appropriate help.

What if I call 911 accidentally?

If you dial 911 by mistake, or if a child dials 911 when no emergency exists, DO NOT HANG UP. That could make us think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply stay on the phone and explain to the call-taker what happened.

Can I text to 911?

Yes! Calling 911 is the best and fastest way to reach help, but if you need assistance in an emergency and can’t speak or safely make a voice call, you can use your mobile phone to send a text message to 911. Available statewide in South Dakota, Text-to-911 is a discreet way to report an emergency, stop a crime or save a life.

If I call 911, what will they ask me?

Our 911 Center follows protocols to guide callers through a sequence of questions to quickly obtain information necessary for dispatching the right responders to the right location. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

What is the address of the emergency?

  • If you don’t know the actual address, tell the dispatcher, and then give cross streets, or provide nearby landmarks and business names, or look at house numbers in the area.  If you are calling from inside a home or business, look on a piece of mail.  When asked for a location, we need you to be as specific as possible.

What is the phone number you’re calling from?

  • This is necessary in case we get disconnected or need to call you back.

What is the nature of the emergency?

Tell us exactly what happened.  Give us details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency.


Why do the dispatchers ask so many questions when I call 911?

The call-taker’s questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly. Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you. Many 911 centers, including Brown County Communications, can tell you exactly what to do until help arrives, such as providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR. Do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you to do so.

How long do most 911 calls last?

 The length of a 911 varies based on the severity and circumstances involved with each situation.

What if the caller does not speak English?

Brown County Communications employees can get a translator on the line within seconds once the language spoken is identified.  The translator will remain on the line throughout the call to relay information between the caller and the 911 operator.

How do I call in a controlled burn?

When you plan to do a controlled burn, please contact us on our non-emergency number (605)626-7911.  We will ask you for the location, a telephone number you can be reached at and what you will be burning. When your fire is completely out and no longer smoldering, call back into the dispatch center to advise them your burn is complete. Remember that an unsupervised burn is no longer a controlled burn, and the fire department may be sent. Controlled Burning Information.

 If you live within 3 miles of city limits you will need to contact Aberdeen Fire and Rescue to get a burn permit, they can be reached at (605)626-7048. 

I hit a deer. What do I do?

If you are injured and need immediate assistance, Dial 911. If your vehicle is disabled and you can’t get off the roadway, Dial 911.

South Dakota Codified Law 32-34-7 requires any accident that has an apparent damage amount of $1000 or more must immediately be reported to Law Enforcement. If you hit a deer with your vehicle, you probably have over that dollar amount, and you must report the crash. The dispatcher will ask you if you are injured, if the roadway is clear and is the animal deceased?

If your vehicle is drivable and you and your passengers are not injured, call the South Dakota Highway Patrol at (605)353-7132 or Brown County Communications at (605)626-7911.