We all know to call 911 to report life-threatening emergencies, but knowing what to say to a dispatcher can help increase police, fire or EMT response time, which in some situations can save a life.
When calling 911, try to stay calm and answer questions to the best of your ability. Answer loudly, and answer clearly. Dispatchers are trained to ask certain questions to help them best assess a situation. Be sure to describe your location to the best of your ability with either a street address, intersection or landmarks to help emergency personnel locate you. Remember, when calling from a cell phone, the 911 call center that answers your call may not be the one that services your area, so know which city and county you are in. Remain on the phone until the dispatcher says you can hang up.
If you accidentally dial 911, stay on the line to tell the dispatcher you made a mistake and there is no emergency. Otherwise, the dispatcher will have to call you back, or they may send emergency personnel to your location to see if there is an issue. Do not prank call 911.
Never call 911 for non-life threatening emergencies. This number is not the place to get information, directory assistance or pay traffic tickets. Also, do not call this number to report a medical problem with one of your animals.
More safety tips are available through the Bell County Extension office.
Rebecca Miller is the Bell County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin. Source: Nicole Peritore, senior extension specialist.