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When to Call 911

People dealing with an emergency may wonder whether or not to call 911.  When in doubt – call. Emergency operators will assist you in determining the extent of emergency and advise you while you wait for help.

Call 911 for a Medical Emergency

Any life-threatening medical problem merits a 911 call. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
  • Changes in vision
  • Confusion or changes in mental status
  • Any sudden or severe pain
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Unusual abdominal pain

Other times to call 911

Dial 911 if:

  • A fire or exposion occurs
  • You witness or are involved in an accident
  • You witness or are the victim of a crime

If you call 911, remember to:

  • Know your location – this is a priority so that the dispatcher can send help immediately. If you call from a cell phone, a dispatcher may be unable to accurately pinpoint your location without your help. If you’re not sure where you are, describe any signs, buildings, or landmarks in the area.
  • Speak calmly and clearly – this can be difficult in an emergency situation, but the dispatcher may ask questions, and clear answers are important to determine what type of help to send.
  • Follow instructions – a dispatcher can walk you through potentially life-saving first-aid procedures while you wait for help.