April is National 9-1-1 Education Month. The Hendricks County Communications Center uses this time to kick off their summer-long outreach to ensure the public is ready to access help during emergencies. A call to 9-1-1 could be the single most important call ever made in life. 9-1-1 Communications Officers seek to make sure the proper help is sent in the quickest time possible. Callers are a big part of this effort. Here are six points citizens need to know when calling 9-1-1.
Know Your Location
This is the most important question you will be asked when you call 9-1-1. If you don’t know where you are, emergency professionals cannot get help to you. Be prepared to provide an address. If you do not know the address, look around. What do you see? It is helpful to use names of intersecting streets, names of businesses you can see, where you were coming from and where you were going, the amount of time you have been traveling; these are all things that could help pinpoint your location if you don’t have an exact address.
Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t
Text-to-9-1-1 service is available in our community. This service benefits individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or in a situation where they cannot make a voice call. However, a traditional voice call, if possible, is still the best way to reach emergency services. While wireless communication has made huge advancements in technology, wireless calls to 9-1-1 still only provide us with a generalized location. Be as exact as you can when asked for your location.
Stay Calm and Don’t Hang Up
Until you are instructed to do otherwise, stay on the line so you can provide any necessary information or assistance to the 9-1-1 operator. Even if you accidently call 9-1-1, don’t hang up. Inform the call taker that you dialed accidentally and that there is no emergency.
Requests for Medical Assistance
The need to request an ambulance for yourself or a loved one can be very scary. Please understand the questions 9-1-1 operators ask you are designed to get the most important information from you in the shortest amount of time. These questions are designed to get the proper type of help started in as little as 45 seconds or sooner. A lot of the time the ambulance is already en-route to your location and the 9-1-1 operator is updating them with the information you are providing as they are driving to you.
Request for Police Assistance
Whether the need for an officer is emergent or non-emergent, the call taker needs to know why you are requesting an officer. While we are here to provide you with the assistance you need, the 9-1-1 operator also helps keep our police officers safe. Answering a few questions will get you what you need faster than saying, “I just need an officer, send them and I will tell them what I need.”
Know The Difference
While 9-1-1 is a nationally recognized number for Police/Fire/EMS, understand that it is for emergencies. It is important to know your local non-emergency numbers for assistance in addition to 9-1-1. In Hendricks County you can reach dispatch for non-emergency requests at 317-839-8700.