Emergency Services in Los Angeles

Police arresting a man in Long Beach

Kayte Deioma

When visiting Los Angeles, it's likely you'll have a smooth visit. If, however, you find yourself in need of assistance, it's wise to know how to access emergency services in Los Angeles, from police and fire to social services and international consulates.

911 Emergency Services

To contact police, fire, or ambulance service in case of emergency, call 911. Spanish-speaking operators are available at all times.

911 operators can get immediate phone translation for almost any language, but you have to be able to tell them in English, what language you need. 911 is a free phone call from any pay phone.

311 Non-Emergency Services

Use 311 to report a non-emergency crime or request for city services. If no one is in immediate danger and you haven't just witnessed a crime, use 311 instead of 911. Examples would be if your car was broken into when you weren't around, or if someone has illegally parked your car in and you need to have them towed so you can move your car. Spanish-speaking operators are available at all times. Operators have access to telephone translation services, but you have to be able to tell them in English, what language you need.

211 for Social Service Assistance

The 211 InfoLine is a service of United Way that connects callers to 4500 social service providers in Southern California.

For example, you can call 211 for runaway and homeless services. You can also call 211 to get help after a disaster, although you should still call 911 if lives are in danger. Spanish-speaking operators are available at all times. Operators have access to telephone translation services, but you have to be able to tell them in English, what language you need.

211 operators can also connect you to any international consulate in the LA area.

Visitor Information Centers

There is no longer an active branch of Travelers Aid International in Los Angeles providing social services to stranded visitors, so calling 211 is probably your best bet for that, but for general tourist information, there are numerous visitor centers around LA.

International Consulates

Call 211 to get connected to any international consulate in Los Angeles.

Translation Services

LA is an international city and most City and County service providers know how to access translation services when needed. However, there are times when you may find yourself in need of services from a doctor, hospital or another service provider where translation services are not available.

Obviously, if you are reading this, you speak some English, but if you feel like you do not speak English well enough to communicate in an emergency, or if someone traveling with you does not speak English, there are telephone translation services that you can access from any telephone with a credit card. It's a good idea to keep the relevant phone number in several places, with copies of your important documents. Fees are determined by the individual service providers.

Some telephone interpretation services require that you register with them in advance. A few options are: