What to Expect When You Call 911


A certified emergency medical dispatcher with specialized training to deal with crises over the phone will answer your call to 911. Be prepared to briefly explain what your exact situation is. Our dispatchers are trained to provide real-time instruction in CPR and life-saving first aid while simultaneously dispatching Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals to your location.

Listen to the dispatcher and follow their instructions. To ensure that the right people with the right equipment are sent to the correct location, the 911 dispatcher will ask you specific questions. Sometimes in an emergency, it may seem like these questions are being asked to determine whether or not you need help. In actuality, they are being asked to determine the level of help you need. The dispatcher will always ask you to say the address of the emergency and your callback number for verification. Having you say it to them must always done to ensure it is heard correctly by the dispatcher. They know how important it is to do it “right” and not just “fast”.

Next, there are four universal questions the dispatcher needs in order to put their knowledge and expertise to work for you quickly and effectively:

  1. Person’s problem or the type of incident (“Tell me exactly what happened?”)
  2. Approximate age
  3. Is he or she conscious?
  4. Is he or she breathing?

Remember to discuss with your children when and how to call 911 so that they can get help if they are ever in need.

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