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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My "Expertise"... 911

Today's Elf4Health Challenge is "Share your expertise". I thought I would educate everyone on the 911 system. I am continually shocked by the number of people that really don't know how it all works.

I've been a 911 dispatcher for almost 7 1/2 years. This isn't a job I ever pictured myself doing but about 8 years ago my brother gave me a nudge in this direction. I am forever thankful that he was so pushy encouraging.

So here goes... the good, the bad, the how to and the funny...

How it works: 911 is the universal emergency phone number in the North America. Other countries have similar 3 digit emergency numbers. Some even have a different number for each service requested (i,e, ambulance, police, fire. ). I strongly encourage anyone that it traveling to look up the emergency number for place in which you will be traveling. Better to have it and not need it.

When you dial 911, the call goes to your local Police Department. Some agencies have fire and police in the same building while others are separate. The initial Call Taker will transfer the call if necessary or stay on the line and query the caller.

I find it amazing the number of people that call that do not know their location/address or phone number. When dialing 911, take a minute to look around at your location. Here are a few tips:
1) Look for any street signs or highway mile markers
2) Find a piece of mail with address on it. This is very useful if you're at someone else's home etc.
3) Go outside and look at the numbers on the building.
4) Look for land marks that might make the area stick out. A big red barn, stores, businesses etc.
5) Teach your children their address, and your home and cell phone numbers

As a dispatcher, I have to know exactly where you are even when you don't know where you are.

Dispatchers have to ask questions. It is our job. Please don't yell at us or call us bad names. We are doing what we can to help you. When we ask "tell me exactly what happened" please feel free to leave out the part about being naked, just having sex, or anything related to bowel movents. You can save those gems for the folks that show up to help you. 😄

There you have it folks, the basics. I love my job and I'm always willing to answer questions about how it all works. I hope someone out there learned something new!

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