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Home >> First Aid Tips >> How to use 911


When and how to use 9-1-1

9-1-1 is simply a telephone number used for reporting all types of emergencies - police, fire and emergency medical.

9-1-1 makes reporting emergencies fast and easy;

The 3 digit number makes it easy to remember - you no longer waste time looking up the correct number to dial in an emergency!

The 3 digit number makes it fast to dial - dialing 3 numbers is obviously quicker than dialing 7 numbers.

DO NOT program 9-1-1 into speed dials - WHY? 9-1-1 is fast and easy to dial as it is. Placing it in speed dials often
results in "accidental" calls to 9-1-1.

9-1-1 is the correct number to dial no matter where you are.

9-1-1 is the correct number to dial no matter if the emergency you are reporting is for police, fire, or emergency medical services.

9-1-1 is equipped and ready to accept calls from deaf persons utilizing a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD)

9-1-1 is for emergencies only. If you call 9-1-1 for non-emergency reports, someone with a real emergency might not get through! When away from your home remember 9-1-1 is coin free from a pay telephone.

What is an emergency?

A fire, an automobile accident, a robbery, a burglary, a prowler outside your home, when someone is sick or injured so badly that they need to go to the hospital.

Non-emergency calls should be placed on normal telephone numbers which may be found in the telephone book. Calls on these lines are answered at the same location, by the same dispatchers, but they don't tie up the "special" 9-1-1 lines.

If you need to dial 9-1-1 remember:

Stay calm! Before picking up the phone, take a deep breath and do your best to relax.

Pick up the phone, listen for dial tone, then dial 9-1-1. That's all, just three numbers - 9 - 1 - 1.

When the dispatcher answers, simply state what you need; I need the police, I want to report a fire, I need an ambulance.

The dispatcher will then ask for the address or location of the emergency. This is very important! Do you and other
members of your family/workforce all know your address? If not, let everyone know! Better yet, mark the address by each telephone - that way it will be easy to remember. Do you know what city or township you are located in?

This is important information as well. In addition to knowing your address, it is important that emergency responders can see your house number from the street. The next time you are returning to your home at night, pretend that you are a policeman, firefighter, or paramedic trying to find your house. Can you easily see your house number from the street? If not, you have some work to do. Mark your house number in large, reflective numbers that can easily be seen from the street.

Next, the dispatcher will ask you exactly what is wrong - the "details" of your emergency. This is important information too! Do not become upset that it is "taking too long", or that "they are asking too many questions" remember, while one dispatcher is talking to you on the phone, another dispatcher is putting your call out on radio to the emergency personnel.

Finally, the dispatcher will ask your name and telephone number.

DO NOT hang up until the dispatcher says it is okay to do so. If you are alone or frightened, we'll stay on the phone until help arrives.

For medical emergencies, the dispatcher can transfer you to medically trained personnel who can tell you what to do until the ambulance arrives.





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