TEENS: Every few years, I feel it’s important to pass along some public service information about a variety of topics. It is always important to be in a position to help as many others as possible when we go about our business in our daily lives. One never knows when or where a need to assist might arise.
Two valuable abilities to possess are CPR and how to properly administer the Heimlich maneuver. These skills can help to resuscitate a person who is not breathing or choking due to a blocked airway. Many communities offer classes to teach individuals how to be ready and prepared to help in an emergency.
And speaking of emergencies, many EMT friends and acquaintances of mine often mention how important it is for members of the public to make an effective 911 call when circumstances call upon them to do so. Our Tuesday series this week looks at how to make the most precise and effective 911 telephone call when it is urgently needed.
Here are professional suggestions culled by EMT personnel about how to make a 911 call in the most effective manner so that those in distress can receive assistance in the quickest and most efficient manner:
No. 1: Always speak calmly and clearly. Even though you may have witnessed or come upon a traumatic event, relaying the critical information to the 911 operator is paramount in getting assistance quickly to those in need.
No. 2: Be as precise about your location and the location of the event as you possibly can. Be prepared to give your full name, your telephone number, address, apartment number, city or town and any important landmarks or cross streets near the location of the emergency.
No. 3: Early in the call, describe the precise type of help you feel you need. For example, it could be medical assistance, a need for fire mitigation assistance, police assistance or even military assistance.
No. 4: If there is a victim or multiple victims involved, provide as many details as you can about them individually. Let the operator know if anyone is unconscious, bleeding severely or choking.
No. 5: Also described to the 911 operator any first aid that may have been given or attempted at the scene. Has anyone received cardiopulmonary resuscitation or any other emergency care of any kind?
No. 6: Describe each victim’s location as precisely as possible. If inside a building, describe the precise location and floor of the building each victim may be located on. It is crucial that the emergency responders can locate each victim as quickly as possible to save precious minutes and seconds in order to save lives.
No. 7: Listen carefully to each question a 911 operator asks you. Be prepared to take notes, write down instructions and even ask the dispatcher to repeat any information that you’re not entirely clear with.
No. 8: Resist the temptation to hang up the call too soon. Stay on the line as long as the 911 operator requests you to do so. Let the dispatcher decide when the call should be ended, since this person’s professional advice is going to be well thought-out.
No. 9: Be sure to give addresses as accurately and clearly as possible, and even check to see if an address is visible from the street so that emergency personnel can locate the precise spot they are needed. If numbers are not clearly visible and it may be dark, perhaps park a vehicle on the street and turn the headlights on as an indicator as to which residence help is needed at.
No. 10: Let the 911 operator guide and control the conversation, and be as precise and accurate with as many details as you can. Follow all instructions you were given and continue to keep your eyes and ears open as you’re on the call in case new details or circumstances arise that you can share with the dispatcher.
No. 11: If there are multiple people with you and you are the individual on the telephone, have the others run back and forth from the scene and bring you any updated information that might be needed so that you can inform the dispatcher on the same call rather than having another new 911 call initiated. This is one of the main reasons why it’s important to stay on the line as long as you may be needed, and certainly until the 911 dispatcher makes the decision to end the call.
Each person who reads these tips, suggestions and strategies for making an effective 911 call should also take the time to share this information with everyone in their household, especially children old enough to make a 911 call. It may also be important to print out a list of basic things to do during a 911 call and place them on the refrigerator door so that a child can quickly see a few important bullet points as to what to do. As with most things in life, being prepared provides a much greater opportunity for a successful outcome.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected]tgift.com. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.