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What Happens When you Call 911 – 8 Tips to Be Prepared

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Any time you are in a position to wonder whether or not you need to call 911 for emergency services, you will undoubtedly feel very stressed, scared or worried. Most people who are calling 911 are feeling overwhelmed. When you know what to expect, it can be less stressful. Fortunately, the 911 operators are well trained to handle the calls and help you stay as calm as possible and get the emergency help that you need to you as quickly as possible. Here are ten important tips that you should familiarize yourself with, so that you are a little more prepared in the event that you need to call 911 for emergency help.

  1. Do your best to remain as calm as possible. If you are hysterical or frantic, it will make it more difficult for the 911 call operator to understand the situation and be able to help. Take a deep breath and try to stay focused on getting help. Although you are in an emergency situation, it is critical that you try to stay calm and let the dispatchers do their job. They understand that you are most likely very upset and scared, and they will do their best to help you through this.

  2. Know your exact location, or be as specific as possible. One of the first things that the 911 operator will ask you is where you are currently located. Although many of the 911 call centers have the capability of identifying your location, your location must be confirmed before emergency personnel is dispatched. If you are calling from a cell phone then this may not be quite as exact and can lead to a delay in emergency services arriving. This will be one of the first questions that you are asked, because if the call should be disconnected for any reason, the 911 operator can still dispatch personnel to that location.

  3. Stay on the line until the 911 operator hangs up. This may not be until emergency crews have arrived. 911 operators are trained to remain on the line with callers until the situation has been handed off to emergency crews. Never hang up until instructed to do so by the 911 operator.

  4. If you call and get a recording instructing you to remain on the line—then do so! Wait for the next available operator and you will get help. You will be transferred as quickly as possible to someone who can help.

  5. Do your best to listen carefully and answer the questions that the 911 operator asks. Let the operator lead the conversation, try to not interrupt or rush. They have certain questions that they must ask to assess the situation and figure out the best way to help you. Answer as calmly and concisely as possible. They will be collecting facts from you. If you are in immediate danger, they will still need you to try and answer with a “yes” or “no” response.

  6. Follow all directions exactly. The 911 operator may tell you to unlock a door, or begin CPR or instruct you on some type of basic first aid. Listen carefully and do exactly as you are told, it could mean the difference between life and death in some cases.

  7. Pay careful attention to your surroundings and try to attend to the details. You may be asked to provide certain details to the 911 operator regarding the scene.

  8. Do not program 911 into your automatic phone dialer. This is a good way to accidentally dial 911, which will require having an emergency crew dispatched, even if it is not an emergency. You are not likely to forget the number anyway.

Calling 911 can be a very stressful experience, but knowing what to expect can make it much easier!