In the U.S., there are federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that protect the public. Locally, law enforcement officers are the police or sheriff. Find out the phone number of the police station nearest you and keep it next to your telephone. Do not be afraid to report a crime, especially if you are the victim. Some criminals take advantage of foreigners because they think they will not report crimes to the police.
Who to Call
911 is the universal phone number for emergency services all over the U.S. When you call 911, an operator will evaluate the situtation and alert police, fire or medical services.
Police officers in the U.S. will usually stop people if their activities seem suspicious or illegal. Traffic enforcement, for example, is stringent and routine. If you are stopped by a police officer be polite and cooperative and, if applicable, tell the officer you do not speak English. If you are in a car, don’t get out of the car until the officer tells you to. Keep your hands where the officer can see them and don’t reach into your pockets or into other areas of the car. You will be asked to furnish your driver's license, car registration, and possibly insurance information, all of which the officer will check by calling on his radio. Some localities will ask for immediate payment of fines for driving violations.
If there is a medical emergency, an ambulance will be dispatched, and an emergency medical technician (EMT) will treat you. Ambulances and EMT personnel will transport you to the hospital if they cannot treat you on the scene.
The U.S. is very large and weather conditions can vary drastically from state to state and be more severe than in Europe. Some areas are prone to snow storms, others to floods or high winds, and others to hurricanes or tornados. American emergency services are usually well prepared and you should follow their instructions during emergencies. Be prepared by looking at weather maps before traveling and, depending on your area of residence, have emergency supplies at hand.