Calling 9-1-1

We hope you never have to call 9-1-1, but if you do, what information should you be prepared to share with the dispatcher?

911, what is the address of your emergency?
Those are the words you’re likely to hear when you dial 9-1-1. 

If your experience of 911 calls comes from TV and movies, you might be picturing dispatchers looking at a screen with a flashing red dot that shows your exact location. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in real life. 

Here is the information the dispatcher will request:

  • Tell the dispatcher where you are including the building number and street address or cross street intersection. It is important to have the exact location.
  • State what is happening and what type of help is needed: police, fire or EMS/medical.
  • Describe the situation as simply as possible and the condition of the victim, such as a bike rider was hit by a car and is bleeding; or an elderly man fell, hit his head, and is not responding.
  • Provide your telephone number.
  • Stay on the line and be prepared to answer additional questions, such as what is happening now, the condition of the victim, or a more precise location. 
  • Be prepared to follow directions from the dispatcher, such as for providing first aid.
  • Hang up only after the dispatcher says it’s alright to do so.

If you stay calm and provide this information, you will not only help the victims of the emergency, but you’ll be helping to keep the situation under control. And, you might just help save a life.

Tidelines Editors

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