Everyone knows that 9-1-1 is a universal number that should be called in the event of an emergency … or do they? 9-1-1 centers all over the United States have encountered hurdles when educating the public about 9-1-1 and its uses. April is National 911 Education Month, and there’s a major effort under way to educate people about the importance and appropriate use of 911 services. With all the advances in technology, 9-1-1 has become much more complex. What began as a simple concept has grown into an amazing infrastructure that needs crucial attention.
An informed caller is 9-1-1’s best caller. It’s important that you know how to help 9-1-1 help you. In an emergency, seconds matter, so being knowledgeable and prepared can make all the difference. Tips everyone should know before dialing 9-1-1:
■ 9-1-1 is for law enforcement, fire and medical emergencies.
■ If you call 9-1-1, never hang up — you may have called 9-1-1 by accident. If that occurs, it is important to let the 9-1-1 dispatcher know.
■ Know where you are. This is the most important information you can provide as a 9-1-1 caller. Be aware of your surroundings. Make an effort to be as detailed as possible. If you are outside and don’t know the street address, look for landmarks or cross streets.
■ Know the capabilities of the devices you’re using. 9-1-1 can be contacted from almost every device that can make phone calls, but the callback and location information that accompanies your call to the 9-1-1 center can vary drastically among technologies and between geographic regions.
■ Stay on the line with the 9-1-1 dispatcher and answer all questions. The more information they have, the better they are able to help you. Their questions do not delay a response.
This information is provided by Tammy Goggia, Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center Communications Center Manager.