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Use 9-1-1 the Right Way

Americans have access to emergency assistance at the push of three buttons, with 9-1-1 operators ready to help.  The 9-1-1 hotline is literally a lifeline to those in crisis; unnecessary calls and poor communication can hamper efforts to dispatch help to victims in need. Follow these tips to decide if a call to 9-1-1 is warranted, and if so, to get help fast. 

Know When to Call

Call 9-1-1 only when an emergency requires immediate professional attention. Consider these questions before you dial:

  • Is the medical emergency potentially life- or limb-threatening?
  • Could driving a victim to the hospital worsen his or her condition?
  • Are you witnessing a crime occur, particularly one that is violent or can lead to violence?
  • Did the crime occur in the last 15 minutes or is the suspect still present?
  • Was there a serious injury to anyone?
  • Do you smell smoke or suspect a dangerous gas leak?
  • Has the situation escalated or continued for thirty minutes without emergency response?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” call 9-1-1 immediately.

Work With Emergency Services

Once you dial 9-1-1, stay calm and coherent, and follow these steps to ensure that help arrives as quickly as possible.

  • Wait patiently for the operator to answer. Calls are answered in the order that they are received; once your call connects, the next available operator will respond.
  • Give the operator as much information as possible, including the nature and location of the emergency and the telephone number from which you are calling.

Be prepared to follow directions. 9-1-1 operators are trained in directing callers to perform the Heimlich maneuver and CPR.

Cut Back on 9-1-1 Crowding

  • Contact police department, security officer, or other official to report non-urgent concerns such as thefts where suspects are not present, noise complaints, disabled vehicles, car accidents with no injuries, tips on narcotics, etc.
  • Never hang up if you or your child accidentally dials 9-1-1. Dispatchers are required to return the call and send police officers to respond to the site where the call was placed. Wait for a responder to answer an accidental call and explain that all is well.

Teach children when it is appropriate to call 9-1-1. Have them practice making an emergency call to your phone, so that they know what to do in an emergency.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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