Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Preparedness tip of the week: What's the number to 9-1-1?

I know. I know. I should know the number to 9-1-1. I do.

But, do your kids?

If you haven't taught them how to call 9-1-1, it may be time.

Out of curiosity (and in case someone really doesn't know how to call the memorable number), I googled it.

Wikihow gave the following directions:

1. Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. Obviously, when you make a call to emergency services, you are in an emergency and have a lot of adrenaline flowing through your veins. However, this can impede your speech and may cause you to start speaking too fast, too slow, begin shuttering, etc.

2. Call 9-1-1. Pick up the receiver. Press 9. Press 1. Press 1 again. If there is one, press the 'Call' button. It takes time for the phone to connect. You must be patient. Do NOT hang up if you do not connect immediately!

3. Remain calm. This is easier said that done. Measure and pace your breathing to slow down your heart rate and begin to plan what you will say to the dispatcher. Remember: Panic is the enemy, in this race against time.

4. Know what you will be asked. Make sure you are aware of each of the following:
  • Nature of the emergency: Do you require assistance from law enforcement, medical professionals, and/or fire fighters? In certain areas, the dispatcher or a computer will tell you to dial certain numbers to help them know which department to connect you with and whom you should speak with.
  • A detailed, yet concise, description: What happened? How many details do you know? What should have the most importance? In general, the most important thing is why you need assistance, followed by what caused you to need assistance.
  • The phone number you are calling from: The dispatcher will need instruction on how to get to where you are and may need to call back for more information.
  • Location: Know the address of the emergency and the nearest intersection or be able to provide directions for the dispatcher to relay to the emergency responders.

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