What happened when you call 911

Calling for Help

First, calling for help can be scary and may even seem overwhelming at the time. It doesn’t really matter how fast rescuers get to you; it will seem like an eternity.

Don’t panic.

Remember, the person who answers the phone when you call 911 is trained to walk you through the process. Be calm and listen to the questions that they ask. Answer as clearly as you can and stay on the line. Never hang up until you are told to do so by the 911 dispatcher.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips that can help ensure that help arrives as quickly as possible and brings the right equipment. Here are the two things you should really know when you make that call:

  • Your location: It sounds ridiculous, but any doubt about your location will slow things down. Be clear, especially if you’re calling 911 on a mobile phone. The dispatcher might not be able to use your phone to find you, so it’s especially important to know where you are and where the person who needs help is located.
  • What you need: Do you need an ambulance, the fire department, or a police officer? Say it up front. In many places around the country (and around the world) the people who answer your 911 call might not be the folks who will ultimately be sending what you need. Often, the police department will answer 911 initially, but then transfer the call to a medical dispatch center once they figure out you are having a medical emergency.

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