TIPS When Calling 9-1-1
BE PREPARED FOR THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
- WHERE did this occur? Did it happen on the street, inside or outside a business or home?
- WHAT happened?
- WHEN did this occur? Is the event still in progress?
KNOW WHERE THE EMERGENCY IS OCCURRING
- An exact street address is best. Look at numbers posted on buildings around you. View the street signs to provide an address or intersection.
- If you are driving, be aware of the road or highway on which you are traveling. Look for landmarks or businesses that are near to your location.
- It is a good idea to post your address and phone number near your telephone. In an emergency situation it is easy to forget the most basic of information.
STAY AS CALM AS YOU CAN
- Remain calm and patient.
Take a deep breath before speaking. Time seems to slow down when you are in an emergency. Your cooperation is essential to quickly getting help started.
- Briefly state the nature of the call.
“I need to report a fire….” Or “I need to report a break-in at my home”.
LET THE 9-1-1 CALLTAKER ASK THE QUESTIONS
Even if the calltaker’s questions seem unrelated or repetitious, let the calltaker lead the conversation and answer their questions. Calltakers are trained to gather information in a certain order to quickly assess the situation and decide what assistance is best to help you. They may need to clarify a previous answer, or may already be aware of the situation you are reporting and need to find out if you have any additional information.
STAY ON THE LINE IF YOU CAN
- Stay on the line until the 9-1-1 calltaker tells you they have all the information they need. In some instances, they will ask if you can stay on the phone with them until officers arrive. This is to gather additional information if the situation changes before officers arrive.
- If it is not safe for you to stay on the phone, let the calltaker know this immediately.
IF YOU MISDIAL – DON’T HANG UP
- If you misdial and accidentally call 9-1-1, DO NOT hang up! Wait until your call is answered and explain that you misdialed.
- If you hang up, a calltaker will call you back to see if you have a police or fire emergency. If the calltaker is unable to reach you, police response will be sent to your location to check on your welfare.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT 9-1-1
Teach your children about what 9-1-1 is and when it is okay to call 9-1-1. Let them know that playing with the phone and calling 9-1-1 is a bad idea because it may cause the line to be tied up and someone who is really in trouble may not get help as quickly. Also, do not let children play with disconnected cell phones without taking out the battery. A disconnected cell phone is capable of dialing 9-1-1.