What to expect when you call 911

Article written by
Communications Supervisor
NiKishia Allen

If you call 911 for a medical emergency within Champion EMS's service area, you will reach a Communications Officer that is certified by the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch (NAEMD).

Every medical emergency will be handled by a Communications Officer who is trained in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols.   They will obtain information about your emergency and instruct you on how to provide basic first aid while the ambulance is in transit. Depending on your emergency, we will stay on line with you until Champion arrives on scene.

When you call 911, be prepared to provide the following information:

  1. Where is Assistance Needed ?
    • This includes:
      • Your street address
      • Apartment number, floor, suite number
      • Color of your house
      • Nearest intersection or cross-street
  2. Your Telephone Number
    • Know the phone number from which you are calling. Be prepared to repeat the number. We want to be sure the information the officer obtained is accurate.
    • Wireless 911 Calls — When you place a wireless 911 call it is not the same as calling from a land-line.  While wireless technology is improving, we will not electronically receive an exact location of the caller.

Be Prepared!!  Information must always be verified and re-verified! This will help our First Responders find your emergency location in an expedient manner. Be sure to know your location. Please pay attention to your surroundings this will allow Champion EMS personnel to make it to you and eliminate any delay in finding you.

  1. Information About the Emergency

    • Who? You will be asked to identify who needs help and what type of help needs to respond. The name, age of the patient, etc.
      • Other questions that would be asked is the patient conscious (awake), is the patient breathing?
    • What? Details about the emergency, such as description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency. What's the chief complaint or reason for the call? (i.e.: difficulty breathing, bleeding, chest pains, general illness, etc.) This is the "bottom-line" of the call. What is the exact problem? We won't need to describe the events leading up to emergency just what is the medical emergency. Remain Calm we know it can be difficult in some situations, however it only makes the process longer if the officer is having hard time trying to understand an excited or hysterical caller.
    • When? It makes a difference if the medical incident is occurring right now or happened an hour ago. Time frame is important. Finally, do not hang up until the officer instructs you to.
Important Things to Know About Emergency Calls
  • If you dial 911 by mistake, or a child in your home when no emergency exists, do not hang up — that could make 911 officers think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the officer what happened.
  • Remember, the communications officer's questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly.
  • Be prepared to follow any instructions the officer gives you. Our Communications center is equipped to provide you with instructions on exactly what to do to help until a unit arrives. These can be providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR.

Why do they ask me so many questions?

The officer is required to ask many questions in order to give responders an accurate picture of your situation. It is important to understand that responders may already be on the way while you are talking to the officer; they are updating the information as they go.

Helpful Things to have or do

  • Keep the following information easily accessible on all household members:
    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Home address
    • Medical conditions
    • Allergies
    • Medications taken regularly
    • Emergency contacts
  • Use three inch reflective house numbers that can be seen from both sides of the street. If possible, put numbers on your house and your mailbox.
  • Try not to panic, and if you can't help it then at least try to speak clearly
  • Answer the officer's questions patiently and completely
  • Understand that there is a reason for every question asked
  • Never hang up on 911!