The following tips are taken from the National Emergency Number Association 911 Tips – Guidelines.
CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY.
An emergency is any serious situation where a law enforcement officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical help is needed right away. If you are unsure of whether your situation is an emergency, go ahead and call 9-1-1. The 9-1-1 call taker can determine if you need emergency assistance and can route you to the correct location.
IF YOU HAPPEN TO CALL 9-1-1 BY ACCIDENT.
Stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that you called by accident and there is no emergency. This saves the call taker from having to call you back and confirm there is no emergency or sending police with lights and sirens to check your address for an emergency.
WHEN CALLING 9-1-1, DO YOUR BEST TO STAY CALM AND ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.
Staying calm can be one of the most difficult, yet most important, things you do when calling 9-1-1. It is very important that you stay as calm as possible and answer all the questions the 9-1-1 call taker asks. The questions 9-1-1 call takers ask, no matter how relevant they seem, are important in helping get the first responders to you as fast as possible.
KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE EMERGENCY.
The wireless 9-1-1 caller must be aware that the 9-1-1 center that answers the call may not be the 9-1-1 center that services the area that the wireless caller is calling from. Look for landmarks, cross street signs and buildings. Know the name of the city or county you are in. Knowing the location is vital to getting the appropriate police, fire or EMS units to respond. Providing an accurate address is critically important when making a wireless 9-1-1 call. Not all cell phones, towers or answering points are able to locate your call automatically.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO CALL 9-1-1.
Be sure they know what 9-1-1 is, how to dial from your home and cell phone, and to trust the 9-1-1 call taker. When calling 9-1-1, your child needs to know their parent’s name, telephone number, and most importantly their address.
POST YOUR ADDRESS CLEARLY AND PROMINENTLY AT YOUR ENTRANCE AND ON YOUR HOME.
Posting your 9-1-1 address at the driveway entrance and on your home will alleviate any confusion as to whether emergency responders have the correct location. Try using something reflective or illuminated so that it can be seen in the evening, as well as during the day. And, always report missing street signs when noted. These not only help others find your home, but are essential to emergency response personnel.