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Good communication with 9-1-1 dispatcher key during emergency

Posted 8/10/2011   Updated 8/10/2011 Email story   Print story


375th Civil Engineer Squadron

8/10/2011 - Scott Air Force Base, Ill. -- One of the first and most important steps in an emergency is calling for assistance.
When reporting an emergency remain as calm as possible. If necessary, take a deep breath and try to speak clearly.

Immediately tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher the nature of your emergency and whether you need the police, fire or an ambulance. This is important since the dispatcher will transfer you to the appropriate agency.

Be prepared to provide the following information:
· Location of the emergency: provide a complete address to include the street name address and building number if available.
· Location you are calling from if different from the incident location.
· Name and call back telephone number.
· Details of the emergency (keep details short and to the point).
· If it is a medical emergency tell the dispatcher the condition of the subjects (sex, age, medical complaint or condition, are they breathing and conscious, any information on drugs or alcohol that may be in there system, allergies etc.)
· For fire emergencies: what is on fire? If it is the building/house you are calling from get out!
· Details, names, descriptions of any persons or vehicles involved in the incident.
· Any other information requested by the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

Follow any instructions given to you by the 9-1-1 dispatcher unless doing so would put yourself or others in danger. You may be required to administer life saving medical treatment or to remove yourself or others from a potentially dangerous situation. You might be asked to open or unlock your front door or wait for responding emergency personnel. Stay on the line until instructed to disconnect.

When faced with an emergency, every second counts and a few moments can seem like a lifetime when waiting for help. At times, the questions the dispatcher may ask you may seem unnecessary and unimportant. Keep in mind that these questions are necessary in order to provide the best course of action for your situation. Often, emergency personnel may already be responding while the 9-1-1 dispatcher still has you on the line. Be patient when you are asked to be placed on hold. The dispatcher may be dispatching the information via radio to the responding personnel.

Answer all questions honestly, directly and quickly. Do not embellish or fabricate information because you think it may accomplish a faster response. Reporting a false emergency or misuse of 9-1-1 is a crime and you may inadvertently prevent someone else from obtaining emergency assistance. You may also be placing an innocent party in danger or under unnecessary suspicion.

Try not to yell, use profanity or be discourteous to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. If you feel any emergency responder has treated you unfairly or unprofessionally, you have the right to file a complaint with their agency.

You may be faced with situation in which you are unable to remain on the 9-1-1 line to answer questions. If this is the case dial 9-1-1, provide as much information as possible and leave the line open until help arrives.

Meet or assign someone to meet arriving emergency responders for all reported emergencies to provide updates on the situation and clarify the location of the incident
Reminder, call 9-1-1 even if there is fire suppression/detection system activation; report all fires even if they have been extinguished.

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