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When to Call 911

Think You Know When to Call 911? Read This to Be Sure

It is essential that people be aware of the right time to call 911 because it helps individuals to avert any loss of lives that may occur due to a tragic accident. Read the following article to get more details on the same.
WellnessKeen Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
The facility of calling 911 in cases of emergency was formed by the US Congress in the late 1960s when it realized the importance of public and private safety. The trend of assigning one emergency phone number in cases of emergency has been in existence for several years, in many countries. Most nations have a single emergency telephone number that allows callers to contact it for assistance in case of any emergency. Calling 911 is a serious act because merely calling 911 for a trivial issue is a sheer waste of time and resources--the same resources which could have been used for a more severe case.

The technology of using 911 was, for years, based on the concept of using wired telephones in homes and businesses. However, with the onset of technological developments, it is possible to contact 911 through wireless phones, text messages, smart phones, video chats, and Internet calls. The National 911 program aims to enhance the access of the 911 number by making it possible for a caller to call from every possible medium, such that national and public safety is taken to a whole new level. When exactly does one call 911? What constitutes as an 'emergency'?

Understanding 911

Anything that is a threat to life and requires immediate assistance from the wings of government, like the police, fire department, or the ambulance constitutes as an emergency. An example for understanding the concept of an appropriate situation to call the number are in cases of thefts and robberies or any similar crime that is in progress. For example, you're passing through the street and you notice some shady activity in a shop, like the shop is being robbed, in such a situation, you can call 911. Similarly, the advent of fire in a place, or road or highway accidents and car crashes are also considered an emergency. Medical emergency is defined by the 911 website to be a situation in case when "someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention".

To Call or Not to Call 911: Most Vital Point

In case of any confusion or hesitation regarding whether the situation is, in fact, an emergency, individuals can call the 911 number and confirm whether the situation is a true emergency. This is one of the most beneficial factors of this service. Since there is limited time in an emergency, when you do call 911, you must be prepared to answer several quick questions that you are asked. You need to give the address of the place where the emergency services need to reach. Make sure that you provide the address in complete detail--this is helpful for officials to reach within time. Other than that, also provide information about other important details like the phone number that you're calling from, the physical description of the person involved in the crime, symptoms of the person experiencing medical problems, and how the incident happened.

It is essential to answer all the questions that are being asked because only then will the personnel be able to guide the caller on instructions for emergency preparedness. The call takers are trained people who will help you by providing step by step instructions on how the situation should be handled, till the time the emergency services reach the spot.

There are times when the number might get dialed as a mistake. In such cases, don't hang up the call--the emergency officials might think you're in danger, and emergency services will be sent to your location (by tracking your phone number). Explain the situation to the officials so that the state resources are not wasted. In case of any emergency, ensure that you call 911--it will help in preventing and/or lessening the loss of life and/or property.
Trainer on call
Car accident on street
Team providing first aid
Woman talking on phone
Emergency call on the screen