Public Safety Message: Details Matter – Calling 911 During an Emergency

thumb-public-safety-june-2024By Chief Wade Watkins

While responding to emergencies within the community, I am often impressed with the amount of detailed information provided to me as I respond. This information many times originates from a citizen who is observing an emergency. 

An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department, or ambulance.

When you call 911, be prepared to answer the call-taker's questions, which may include:

  • The location of the emergency, including the street address.
    • If you’re unable to give a street address. The application (what3words) is very effective in giving an exact location. This can be found where you get your apps and is becoming widely used.
  • The phone number you are calling from.
  • The nature of the emergency.
  • Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency.

Remember, the call-taker's questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly. Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you. Many 911 centers can tell you exactly what to do until help arrives, such as providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR. Do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you to do so.

Please practice these steps with your family and friends to ensure you’re prepared.

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