Here is a video lesson excerpt from my Learn How To Use The 911, 999 &112 Emergency Services Correctly course.
In this video, I’d like to take a look at the steps associated with people making a successful 911 emergency call in many countries, namely: Mauritius, Uganda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Gibraltar, Ireland, UK, Solomon Islands, Trinidad, and Tobago.
Please note that the use of the 999 system is not limited to the above territories.
Did you know that there are right and wrong ways to make a 999 call?
In the event of a 999 emergency, it is imperative to ensure that emergency services will arrive on the scene as quickly as possible. 999 calls are made every day, yet mistakes are often made.
The result can mean disaster if timely help does not reach the victim to administer timely assistance.
Success means that the emergency services are mobilized as quickly as possible to your emergency.
The following, five steps can mean the difference between life and death to make a successful 999 call in a moment of need.
Step 1: Dial the Correct Emergency Number
So, step one is to dial 999 on your phone. This number is embedded into most people’s minds and it is free to call. Very important that you press or tap those three numbers 999. Remember, if you are calling from a workplace you need to know the number that allows you to dial an outside line (typically a zero, a one, or a nine).
Step 2: Stay Calm
When the call is answered by a professional emergency call taker make sure to stay calm and collected.
For many of us, when you find yourself in the middle of a 999 emergency, you might be on the verge of panic, because:
- You could be the victim of an injury or attack.
- You may have witnessed something traumatic.
- You are in a dire situation and it may concern someone that you love.
Take a deep breath before speaking. Time seems to slow down when you are in an emergency.
Briefly state the nature of the call. For example:
“My neighbor’s house is on fire…..” Or “My husband is complaining of severe pain in his head……..”.
It is an absolute necessity to keep a level head. Emotions will be running high and there is often a desire to panic.
However, 999 operators find it difficult to send out emergency services from a 999 call that is made by someone who is falling apart.
Step 3: Answer Questions in a Clear & Concise Manner
The call taker is going to ask questions about your emergency to assess the situation and send the proper type of aid as quickly as possible.
As mentioned in the previous step it is important to speak coherently in as calm of a manner as can be managed.
To get the fastest response, you need to be clear and concise as you provide all of the important details.
When you call 999, be prepared to answer the call taker’s questions, which may include:
- The location of the emergency, including the street address – An exact street address is best.
- Directions to the scene – Look at numbers posted on buildings around you. View the street signs to provide street-block or intersection information. Look for landmarks, street signs, or businesses that are very near to your location. If you are not sure, ask others around you where you are. If you are driving, be aware of the road or highway on which you are traveling.
- The phone number you are calling from. If you are using a cellular phone, be very specific about the location.
- 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, and a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency.
You might be asked other questions to help the operator assist you more quickly, and remember at this stage of the call, it is highly likely that help is on the way.
Insight from Gerard: The order and the type of questions asked by the emergency operator will vary from country to country and indeed between PSAPs and EDCs.
Try to make your answers to the questions as simple and straightforward as possible.
Remember, the call-takers questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly.
Whilst they are speaking to you, they will also be giving the information to the personnel who will be on their way to help.
Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you, for instance, a 911 operator may be able to give helpful information concerning first aid and care as well.
Think of the 999 dispatchers as a lifeline and treat this person with respect and courtesy, no matter how dire the situation may be.
Insight from Gerard: Some 999 call takers have immediate access to language line interpreters, who can assist them in communicating with callers. The 999 call taker will connect you to an interpreter, and they will coordinate their assistance.
Step 4: Listen Carefully & Follow Instructions
Even if the call taker’s questions seem unrelated or repetitious, let the call taker lead the conversation and answer their questions. Call takers are trained to gather information in a certain order to quickly assess the situation and decide what assistance is best to help you. After the emergency call taker has clarified what has happened and what type of aid is needed, the police, fire department, or paramedics, or indeed the coastguard will be sent to the scene.
To re-emphasis, the key elements of this step are:
- Do whatever you are told.
- Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you, which might include exactly what to do to help in an emergency until help arrives, such as step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR.
The key takeaway for this step is to listen and follow instructions!
Step 5: Stay on the Line
Do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you! Or if calling from a cell phone, keep it turned on. Even if the phone has to be set down to help a victim, do not disconnect. Continue to keep the 999 dispatchers informed up to the moment that emergency services are on the scene.
Here are two key benefits of staying online.
- You may be able to provide the dispatcher with additional information (such as changes to the patient’s condition) as emergency personnel responds, or the dispatcher may be able to provide you with emergency instructions.
- When you stay on the line, it allows the emergency call dispatcher to pinpoint your exact location. When you stay on the line with the emergency call dispatcher, you can provide vital information to get the help you need.
It will be tense and emotions will be high, but you need to remember one of the most important rules for 911 calls: stay on the line.
Let’s wrap up with a quick reminder of what we covered. Please make every effort to follow these 5 steps for 911 calls in hopes of having the best outcome.
- Dial the number – 999
- It is an absolute necessity to keep a level head. Panic is your enemy
- When you call 999, be prepared to concisely answer the call takers’ questions, which may include the location of the incident, the number you are calling from, and your name. Remember, the call-takers questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly.
- Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you, for instance, you could be given instructions for first aid that will mean the difference between life and death.
- Remember to stay on the line.
When making emergency calls, the appropriate 999 services will be dispatched as soon as possible.
Thanks for viewing this training lesson. Don’t worry if this is too much information – overpowering; you can watch this video over and over again!