What to Know Before You Dial 911
- Be prepared for emergencies by taking a first aid and CPR class. Every home should have a first aid kit and at least one fire extinguisher that can be located by all family members. Practicing emergency evacuation exercises with all the occupants of your home or business makes real life evacuations much easier, particularly for small children and the elderly.
- The street numbers to your house should be visible in the dark and from the street. This will ensure that the emergency responders can find your home quickly in an emergency.
- Do you have your address and emergency information posted near the phone? This will assist children and visitors who may need to call 911. If you live where it is needed post directions on how to reach your home from a major cross street.
When To Use 911
If the situation puts your life or another persons life or property in danger call 911 immediately. Keep in mind there are only a limited number of lines designated to each agency, if you use 911 during a non-emergency you may prevent someone with and actual emergency from being able to obtain help. Do not call 911 to ask for the non-emergency phone number. 911 should be used for reporting fire, medical or police emergencies only.
What to Not Do Regarding Dialing 911
- Do not program 911 into your auto-dial telephone.
- Do not dial 911 to test your phone or system without calling the non-emergency number to make arrangements.
- Do not hang up before your 911 call is answered, if this happens an officer will be sent to your location.
- If you dial 911 in error, do not hang up the telephone. Instead stay on the line and explain to the operator that you dialed by mistake. If you hang up an operator will send an officer to your location. This needlessly takes resources away from genuine emergencies.
Try to remain calm and speak clearly giving the 911 operator the nature of your call immediately. When you call you will be asked a lot of questions by the 911 operator. It is important that they be able to give the responding personnel as much information as possible. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Location of Emergency
- Location you are calling from (if different)
- Name, home address and telephone number
- Details of the emergency (keep details short and to the point)
- If medical emergency; condition of the subject (sex, age, medical complaint or condition, are they breathing and conscious, any information on drugs or alcohol they may have used
- If fire emergency; what is on fire (structure, vehicle, vegetation, trash)
- Details, names, descriptions of any persons or vehicles involved in the incident
- Any other information requested by the 911 operators
Follow the instructions of the 911 operators unless doing so would put you or others in danger. When faced with an emergency a few moments can seem like a lifetime when you are waiting for help. The questions asked by the 911 operators may seem unimportant but they are necessary to provide the best response for your situation, often, emergency personnel are already responding as the 911 operators obtain further information.
Remain on the line until the 911 operators tells you to release the line. If you are unable to remain on the line or talk to the 911 operator do not hang up the phone, even if you cannot talk to them, leave the phone line open, they are listening to what is going on and may ask you yes and no questions you can either answer or push the buttons on the phone for an answer. Follow any instructions given to you, such as meeting the officer at the door or flagging down the firefighters at the curb.