When an emergency arises and you need to make 911 calls, it can be a frightening, nerve-racking experience.
It’s best to follow the Boy Scout motto and be prepared for that potential moment when emergency services are needed.
Here are five things you should NOT DO when calling 911, 999 or 112 when a crisis situation arises.
#1: Don’t Call the Wrong Number
Pay attention to emergency numbers.
While 911 is standard in the United States, you’ll find that the numbers are different in other countries.
When you are planning to travel or abroad, or if you have a child who is going to be an exchange student, be informed about what phone numbers to use in the event of a 911 emergency.
It’s habit to dial that number that has become ingrained in our brains.
In Great Britain, 999 is the number to call for emergency services, while 112 works throughout Europe and the British Isles.
If you don’t know the emergency number before you head overseas, make it a priority to find out.
You never know when you’ll find yourself in a time of need.
#2: Don’t Call if it isn’t an Emergency
If the situation isn’t life-threatening, do not calling 911.
There is nothing more frustrating to dispatchers than people who call for directions, to get a phone number, or because a kid broke their window with a baseball.
911 is intended for true emergencies.
For all other calls, keep a list handy so that you will know who to call.
The local government departments have contact numbers listed in the phone book or on the web.
Use these numbers in the event that an incident occurs that is not an emergency.
For example, a stolen bike should be called in to local authorities and is not a 911 emergency.
#3: Do Not Panic
When there is a need to make 911 calls for emergency services, remain calm.
Don’t scream, shout, and cry uncontrollably when you are asking for help during a 911 emergency.
Emergency service dispatchers will not be able to provide vital assistance if they cannot understand you.
Do not get angry or be rude with your lifeline.
These people do what they do because they care.
They do not deserve to be treated with disrespect.
While it is understandable that you are likely to be upset, you’ve got to do your best to remain under control, bearing in mind that you are the means to helping someone who is in trouble.
To help yourself in such a situation, post a card by the phone with your name, phone number, and address, as well as any special instructions about using the phone.
If anyone in the household has a serious health condition, post information concerning that condition and any medication as well.
#4: Do Not Use a Cellular Phone, if Possible
911 calls are best made from a landline.
If at all possible, use a landline in the household or a nearby location.
It is easier to get the right emergency services to you with a faster response time, while calling 911 from a cellular phone may take more time to pinpoint the proper location.
However, if you find yourself in the midst of a 911 emergency and have no other options except for a mobile (cell) device, use it!
#5: Do Not Hang Up
If you are in the middle of making 911 calls, stay on the line.
The emergency services dispatcher can actually help you to remain calm and provide first aid.
You will also be able to keep others informed of up-to-date details that will be helpful in getting assistance in that time of need.
In an emergency situation, it will be hard to keep fear and hopelessness at bay.
As the emergency services dispatcher continues to talk to you during a wait that can seem like an eternity, you can rest assured that you are not alone and someone cares.
The 911 emergency services dispatcher will be with you until the moment first responders arrive on the scene.
No one wants to make that 911 call, but following these simple steps can help you to make a difficult situation become easier.
Be informed, be prepared, and make sure everyone in the household or business, including young children, knows exactly what, and what not, to do in the event of an emergency.
You’ll have peace of mind with the knowledge that you’ve done everything in your power to help others when the need arises.