“911. How can I help you?”

This is the soothing voice you hear when you call for help in a medical emergency. The 911 operator and the answering ambulance team will do the best they can, but there are things you can do to help them with their jobs. In fact, how you call 911 is just as important as actually dialing the number.

Call for help

When dealing with an emergency, you need to take a moment to think clearly before you can help someone else. The calmer you are, the better you can deal with the current situation. So don’t worry about having to stop to take a deep breath before moving forward. When the 911 operator answers, be as specific as possible. In many areas, your call will be routed and you may need to repeat the information. That is normal. The operator has tried you and learned which emergency service you need.

Do you know the address

It’s not uncommon to visit a friend or family member for years without knowing the address. You know the street, you know the cross street and you can imagine it. However, if you do not know the number, you will not be able to direct emergency services to your location. If this describes you, make a note of the addresses that you visit regularly.

Families with young children or dependent family members can post the address next to the phone. While many 911 services can automatically detect your location, not all of them can, especially if you are using a phone connected through an Internet Service Provider (VoIP) or cell phone. Visitors, children, or other family members may have trouble remembering the exact address if they are stressed or scared.

Listen carefully to the operator

Listen carefully to all questions and instructions. Depending on the emergency, the operator can tell you how to start caring for the injured or sick person.

Do not hang up even if you think you have provided all the required information. Wait until you are specifically told that it is okay to disconnect the call. The operator may want to keep communication open or ask additional questions.

Waiting for help

After you place the call, the wait can seem excruciatingly long, even if it’s actually only a few minutes. Unless you have been directed to do something else, you can use this time to clear obstacles such as large pieces of furniture. The emergency services need space to work.

Seek help from others. If you are in a residential building with a buzzer, in an office building, or far from the front door (long hallway, stairs, etc.), send someone to wait at the door to let in and guide respondents. This can save time.

Pets? Pets may be super friendly and affectionate, but in an emergency they can get aggressive and try to protect their owner. Or they can be enthusiastic about the unfamiliar activity. Protect both your pets and emergency responders by safely moving pets out of the way to another room.

When help arrives

Once the respondents have arrived, don’t push them anymore. Too many people in the area can create confusion. If other people are around, ask them to stay in a different area. However, make sure someone remains available to answer questions or forward messages.

Hopefully you never have to ask for emergency medical help. Dealing with a medical emergency can be very stressful, but knowing how to effectively call for help and assist the responders can save valuable time and life.

Tips for calling emergency aid:

  • Before an emergency, make sure that your house number is clearly visible from the street and from both directions at night.
  • Post reflective numbers at least 3 inches tall on the sides of a mailbox or lamppost in front of your home.
  • Include visual cues when providing your address, e.g. B. “The house with the green shutters” or “There is a red pickup in the driveway”.
  • Gather any medication the sick or injured person is taking to give to emergency responders.
  • Do not allow anyone to park on either side of the ambulance once it has arrived.

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