“Call 911” Do’s and Don'ts of calling 911 as told by the dispatchers that take your call
The 4th may be a holiday for most people but for first responders, it’s just another day. Another day to put 110% into a thankless job. A job that they have to be perfect because lives depend on them. They get called every name in the book, but that never stops them from answering the phone every time it rings. They would give their all to help you.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help make their jobs easier, and give you the best help they can.
When I first started writing this post I knew I was going to need help. I asked 911 dispatchers around the world what they would tell their callers before the caller dialed 911. Here is a compilation of their responses and why these are important
“Location, Location, Location”
When you first become a dispatcher you are sent to multiple trainings you are trained to get the location and verify it. The phrase “Location, Location, Location” is taught to every dispatcher. If we don’t know where you are, we can’t help you. Now, I know what you are thinking. “If I have called 911 then they can see my location and phone number on their screen they are just wasting time asking these questions.” Well that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes the number is wrong. Sometimes I can’t get caller to map and when they do it’s not pinpoint it is meters off. So when the 911 operator is asking what your location and the home number are, remember they want to give you help as fast as they can, but they can’t if they don’t know where you are.
Stay on the line
Accidentally hit the emergency button on your phone? Stay on the line. It saves everyone a lot of time and effort if you just tell us it was an accident. It happens a lot more than you think. If you have a real emergency and say I need help here now and hang up…
We need you to stay on the line. We need to make sure to give you the help you need, we will ask a lot of questions, but those are so we can make sure the people we have heading to you have everything they need to give you the best care.
Now we all know that when you have a real emergency it is hard to stay calm, but keep in mind we can’t understand you if you’re hysterical. If you are sobbing uncontrollably, take a deep breath and try to calm down as best as possible. Listen to the calm tone in the dispatchers voice, they are there to help and they will do everything they can for you, but you have to remain calm.
Gunshots or Fireworks
Now I know this is the Fourth of July, so here is something all dispatchers agree on.
Now please keep in mind that people will be setting of fireworks all night. PLEASE don’t call in unless you are 100% certain that they are gunshots.
I know that is a lot, but in the end of all of this I hope you take away that we are here to help you and will do anything in our power, but we need you to help us help you.
Have a great, and SAFE, 4th of July!