But, in some counties it's not that simple.
"If we receive a call for a fire that's outside the city of Maryville but it's within Polk township, then we have have to dispatch the call over to Maryville, so they can dispatch the fire department, so they can go to that fire. It doesn't make sense, and it never has made sense," said Nodaway County Sheriff, Darren White.
That's why Sheriff White is proposing a change.
He wants to consolidate the three 911 centers in Maryville into just one unified system to improve response time.
Right now, 911 calls go to dispatchers with Maryville Public Safety, the Sheriff's Department or the Northwest campus, each one in a different building.
"Calling 911 and then being transferred all over the city of Maryville to various 911 centers to get to the right place, that should not be happening," said White.
White feels that combining the dispatch units would make for a more streamlined system, but, there are concerns.
"I'm a little bit reluctant to say, if dispatch leaves our place, our department, it makes holes in other areas because dispatch is literally integrated into everything that we do," said Maryville Public Safety Director, Keith Wood.
Wood is hesitant about a change, saying his department hasn't seen any major problems with the way it's done now.
"I don't know if other entities involved do consider themselves as having problems, and therefore they need to improve. Again, I don't see that as something that is broke that we need to fix," said Wood.
Wood says he is willing to consider changes, but wants to see the idea investigated further.
The proposal has been discussed for several years, but it never goes anywhere.
"There has a been a lot of talk, there has been a lot of argument, but there has not been a lot of progress or movement toward making that happen," said White.
Until each agency can agree on common ground, the debate continues on the future of 911 services in Nodaway County.