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.