Essential Tips for Calling 911

Huron Police offer essential tips for calling 911 in an emergency. With a growing number of households dropping traditional phone service in favor of wireless devices Huron Police Dispatchers are offering several tips for providing information to allow for the quickest response in an emergency. 

Where is your emergency? Often the first question asked by 911 dispatchers is the most crucial piece of information to aid responders to find you quickly in an emergency. While landline telephones provide dispatchers with accurate mapping in most cases, cell phones often bounce between different towers and may only be able to provide a general location of the caller within a few blocks. Residents are encouraged to provide accurate address information, pay attention to details such as landmarks, cross streets, and colors of houses to aid responders in finding a location. Huron Police Dispatchers answer 911 calls for five counties in eastern South Dakota covering an area of five thousand seventy square miles. Often incidents can be occurring in different counties simultaneously making obtaining accurate location information essential when making a wireless call.

Help the dispatcher and responders help you! Remain calm. This can be one of the most difficult yet important things you can do in an emergency. Listen to questions carefully and answer them to the best of your ability. The questions call takers ask, no matter how relevant they seem to you, are important in helping dispatchers determine what type of situation may be occurring and aid in helping responders find you quickly. Huron city ordinance requires houses be marked with house numbers clearly in a visible location from the street.

If you do call 911, even by mistake, do not hang up. Dispatchers are trained to obtain the most critical information as quickly as possible to get help on the way to an emergency. Allow the dispatcher time to ask all the questions they need before you leave the phone. Often they will remain on the phone with you providing helpful instructions until the arrival of responders. If you happen call 911 by accident stay on the line until you can tell the dispatcher that you called by mistake and there is no emergency. This saves the call taker from having to call you back to confirm help is not needed. Huron Police follow up on hang-up 911 calls to ensure there is no emergency.

Teach your children when and how to use 911. Kids should know how to call 911 and to trust the call taker. Be sure they know how to use home and cell phones. They will need to be able to provide their names, parent's names, telephone number, and most importantly address information. Let them know to remain on the phone until help arrives.

By following these few tips you can help first responders get to you as quickly and safely as possible in the event of an emergency.