In an emergency situation, calling 911 might make you feel overwhelmed.
However, while calling 911 and receiving helpful information from the operators, there is one important rule which you have to follow: Do NOT panic.
Even though 911 operators are trained to provide you with helpful guidance to cope with the emergency situation you are going through, being aware of what to expect from the call takers can allow your talk with 911 operators to go smoothly and effectively.
How to call
- Stay calm and do not panic. Take a deep breath and relax. 911 operators are aware that any emergency situation requires to be dealt with quickly and they will try to deliver help as quickly as possible.
- Make sure you know where you are. Do not get frustrated as the call taker may ask you your location more than once. They have screens indicating your location by tracking your number; however, they always re-confirm the address—so do not panic. In any case, if the call gets disconnected, the operators would want to know where they have to call again. Make sure you do not hang up until you are asked to do so. Additionally, you should know what number you are calling from as this may be asked for as well.
- Be patient and wait for the operator to ask the necessary questions. Listen carefully and answer his questions very accurately. Most of them will be yes or no questions, therefore, stay calm and answer with a calm mind.
- Listen to the recording very carefully. If it is incomplete, hang up and call again. If the recording says operators are busy, do not hang up, and wait.
- The call taker will most probably be typing out the information he/she is being provided with—therefore, they might seem to be a bit slow but do not worry, help will already be on its way.
- Listen carefully and follow every direction the call-taker gives you. Make sure you ask any questions to clarify the situation.
- Be alert. You will be asked questions about your surroundings, how the accident happened, any other victims, vehicles, suspects etc.
- Do NOT hang up until you are asked to do so. Call takers might provide you with more information and ask more questions about the location, therefore, do not cut the line due to a feeling of urgency.
Where to Learn More
To learn more about when and how to contact emergency medical services (911) enrol in workplace approved first aid training. We have courses offered throughout the week that teach basic first aid and CPR skills with fun and informative instructors.