“9-1-1; what is the address of your emergency?” Just about every 9-1-1 Dispatcher in the United States begins their calls in this manner. And, for some, these words cause anxiety. However, being prepared for the call now, can help relieve that anxiety later.
While waiting for the dispatcher to pick up, breath. Breathe in through the nose, and then breathe out through the mouth. Try to stay calm. The dispatcher will similarly be calm, so if both parties can maintain level-heads, emergency services can be dispatched much quicker.
Always be alert
Next, while driving, always be mindful of one’s location. This will be the first bit of information the dispatcher will need. And, location is imperative because almost all 9-1-1 calls are made from cell phones that are extremely hard to track, according to the National Emergency Number Association. Caller ID can be inaccurate, calls are easily dropped and there are a myriad of other cellular connectivity issues.
Ask for first responders
Unfortunately, in many jurisdictions throughout California, dispatchers are trained to only dispatch when absolutely necessary because first responders are over-extended. Nonetheless, especially for those involved in car accidents, they need first responders, even if just to get a police report. As such, specifically ask for police, medical and, if needed, fire fighters. Say, “We need police and an ambulance at the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, California, because there has been a severe car accident. We do not know the injuries, but it looks bad.” If this is the first bit of information that is given, then even if the phone call is dropped, the dispatcher has what they need.
Do not make assumptions
The dispatcher will continue to ask questions, but be careful not to make assumptions that lessen the severity of the car accident. Unless one is a doctor, examining patients in the car accident, do not make injury assumptions. And, if the Los Angeles, California, caller was involved in the car accident, it may be best to end the call after the first request. Giving out too many details when one may have a head injury could hurt one’s personal injury case later.