No one really knows when an emergency or disaster will strike. In a perfect world, there’ll be no reason to call emergency services. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world which makes sense to always be alert and prepared.
In the United States and even some parts of the world, there’s only one number to call when there’s an emergency. Even young kids are taught by their parents to remember the 3-digit emergency number in case there’s a situation that calls for help.
What is 911?
911 is a hotline number that connects you to emergency service dispatchers. If there’s an emergency situation in your home or in your neighborhood, you should immediately call 911 to save someone from an accident or tragedy. Calling 911 promptly can save someone’s life.
Some interesting information about 911:
- A grisly crime in 1964 paved the way for the creation of this emergency response system.
- The numbers 9-1-1 were selected because it’s easy to remember.
- It’s considered a crime to use the hotline for prank calls.
- 911 receives around 240 million calls every year.
Emergency Situations: The Importance of Dialing 911
Emergency situations require immediate attention. Whether it’s you who needs help, a family member, or a complete stranger, dialing 911 has many benefits. Here are the reasons why it’s important to dial 911 when a serious, unexpected or dangerous situation occurs:
1. Help save lives
Accidents and dangerous incidents can happen anytime. Oftentimes, we can’t foresee whether a situation will take a turn for the worst. The emergency hotline number was created to help save lives, especially in situations where the person or a group of people can be saved through the help of first-responders.
2. Only one number to call
It’s difficult to remember numbers when you’re facing a tough emergency situation. 911 is easy to remember and requires no money to call. You can call 911 from a landline phone, a mobile phone or a payphone. It’s now possible to call 911 by dialing 911 from VoIP.
3. Promotes empathy and compassion
Sometimes we’re tempted to look away from a situation that requires our help because we don’t know what to do to make the situation better. Fortunately, dialing 911 during an emergency will connect you to experienced and professionally-trained dispatchers who will give specific instructions to help rectify the situation while sending the nearest available first-responders. Helping others during tough situations is a display of empathy and compassion. Having the ability to call 911 promotes and instills these important social values.
911: How it Works
911 was created to provide immediate assistance to an emergency situation, including but not limited to:
- A burglary, fire, crime or assault in your neighborhood
- Vehicular accidents
- A person has been seriously injured
- Medical emergencies such as heart attack, seizure, stroke, et cetera
To report any life-threatening situation that requires emergency assistance, one must dial 911 using a landline phone, mobile phone or VoIP phone.
To reach a 911 dispatcher, simply key in the numbers on a working phone or VoIP phone. Once you speak with a dispatcher, you’ll be asked to describe the situation. It’s important to keep calm while speaking with the 911 operator so that you can describe the emergency properly. Even while the dispatcher is getting the necessary information, they’re already sending a request for help from the respective emergency team which may be the local police, the local fire station, and the nearest hospital.
Your answers to the questions are very important since the dispatcher is already sending the information to first responders. As a 911 caller, you’ll need to supply the following information:
- Your location or address
- Your phone number
- The situation at hand
- Who is in need of immediate assistance – it may be a stranger, your family member, a person or people you’re with, or yourself.
- Specifics of the emergency – for example, whether the person injured is bleeding or unconscious.
- If the injured person (or you) is still facing imminent danger or is already safe.
The dispatcher will provide specific instructions that you need to follow. Whether it’s performing CPR or giving first aid, or to move the injured person to a safer location. If you’re unable to call 911 because you’re helping someone, ask another bystander to call 911. It’s important to make sure that someone is calling 911 as studies show that some people are less likely to help when there are other people present, or what is called the bystander effect.
Whether you’re calling 911 to request assistance for an emergency at your own home or to give aid to another individual requiring immediate help, it’s important to have a sense of urgency while keeping your cool. Emergencies can be resolved better when you’re calm, focused, and know which number to call.