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How and When to Call 911 - Do's & Don'ts with Video
History of 911
Alexander Graham Bell was the first to invent the telephone and have it patented first. A man named Elisha Gray was very close to the finish line but was beaten by Bell. It wasn't until 1937 that the first emergency response phone number with three digits was put into place.
The United Kingdom instituted the first system for an emergency call using the digits 999. Sydney, Australia began using 999 for emergency calls in 1957. New Zealand joined the effort with 111 in 1958.
The first 911 call wasn't placed in the United States until February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama by Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite to Congressman Tom Bevill. They used the infamous 'red' telephone that now resides in a museum in Haleyville. Fite dialed 911 from City Hall and Beville answered, "Hello?" from the city's police station. After exchanging greetings the two of them decided it was a wrap and met up for coffee and doughnuts.
Different Ways to Dial 911
There are several ways one can summon help if in an emergency situation. If you do not have access to one method be aware there are others. This information could save your life.
- Land-line (a phone that is plugged into your house and works on a cable telephone service)
- Cell Phone
- VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) This means you can summon 911 using your computer. Make sure your address is always current with your internet provider. The address associated with your computer is where 911 will be dispatched)
- TTY/TDD (Teletype communication system for people that are hearing/speech impaired. All 911 operators are equipped with TTY/TDD).
- Vehicle Telemetry - Services that may come with newer vehicles such as OnStar, RESCU, TeleAid...these operators are not certified EMS personnel and calling them first may delay the response to the real 911 operators).
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Why You Should Not Call 911
You should not call 911 if you have a dispute about the way your hamburger was cooked. Don't call 911 because your fries are soggy. 911 is not your personal help line. Don't be selfish, someone could be dying while you bitch about your western burger.
Don't call 911 because your boyfriend won't marry you. I am certain, this isn't going to change his mind. 911 does not have the power to enforce a shotgun wedding in the United States. Also, when your pretty face is all over the 10 o'clock news, I am pretty sure your boyfriend is not going to get all soft when he see's that mug shot.
Again, there are non emergent phone lines that citizens can call if you think you have been wronged in some way, but don't expect 911 to respond.
Don't play practical jokes with 911 response teams. This can get you arrested, fined and humiliated. In some vicinities it can even garner a jail sentence.
Do not call 911 for a date....unless you like watching him work from your cell.
If you are driving drunk...yes go ahead and call.
If you are a police man and tried the confiscated product?
Why You Should Call 911
911 is an emergency service. Instituted so that lives could be saved, crimes could be stopped or disasters can be attended to, such as a fire. While this service is known about all over the world, many people do not understand what it is for.
911 is in place so that appropriate emergency response teams can communicate quickly and effectively in cases of real emergencies. When people abuse the system it is truly a miscarriage of justice. These time consuming and ridiculous calls impede the ability of response teams to get to authentic emergencies, quickly.
There are non emergent phone numbers available for you to call if you have another problem that you may need help with. If they cannot assist you, they may be able to direct you to the appropriate person that can help with your particular problem, if you ask nicely.
Please only dial 911 in cases of emergencies. If you need a police or fire department or have a true medical emergency it is always appropriate to call. If you are a victim of a crime or want to report the transmission of a crime it is appropriate to call 911.
If you are upset and unsure if your issue constitutes an emergency then by all means call 911 and let them decide. Do not hesitate to call if in doubt.
How to Correctly Call 911
If you have an emergency call 911. It is vital that you have a few important details. EMS cannot respond quickly if you are so upset that you can't provide information.
- know the address and city of the location of the emergency
- know the phone number or where they can call you back if you are disconnected
- type of emergency (fall, drowning, missing person, burglary in process, gun shots fired - be able to calm down and explain so they know who to send)
- answer all question posed to you. They may seem unnecessary but I promise the operators are trained and are asking so they can get you the best possible care, quickly.
Blackbirds cry wolf!
- 911 for Kids - 911 Training and Education, 911 Public Education, National 911 Education Month - Home
9-1-1 For Kids is a non-profit organization focused on 911 emergency dialing education for kids and adults.
What to do while waiting for EMS response team.
There are several things that you can do to aid your emergency response team.
- if person is not breathing and you are trained to administer CPR - do that until EMS arrives.
- reassure the person help is on the way and comfort that person
- gather all medications that this person may be taking regularly or might have taken recently
- ensure pathway is clear for the responders. They may need to bring a stretcher or large equipment in to help the patient.
- make sure you or someone else can hear the door for the response team
- if you live alone - hide a key outside and inform 911 where that key can be found
- keep a current list of drugs and medical conditions that you have
- keep the name and number of your emergency contacts on your fridge and in your wallet together with your physican's contact information
- teach your children how and when to call 911. Teach them their full name and your full name and address as soon as possible. One smart mom taught her child to sing his address and it enabled her very young child to dial 911 and sing his address under stress after his mother fell down the stairs and lay helpless and unconscious.
"Coward: one who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs." ~Ambrose Bierce