Most people will call 9-1-1 only once or twice during their lifetimes. Having the necessary information will help the 9-1-1 operator in sending you the appropriate help quickly. It can be a frightening experience, but there are several precautions that you can take to make the process run smoothly for you and the operator.
Take A Few Deep Breaths To Calm Yourself
Obviously, when you are making a call to emergency services, you are in an emergency, and have a lot of adrenaline flowing through your veins. However, this will impede your speech and may cause you to start talking too fast, too slow, begin stuttering, etc.
Pick up the receiver. Press 9. Press 1. Press 1 again. Hit the "Call" button (if there is one). Be aware that, sometimes, it takes time for the phone to route to the correct answering point; you must be patient!
Do NOT hang up if you do not connect immediately!!
This is easier said than done. Measure and pace your breathing to slow down your heart rate, and begin to plan what you will say to the dispatcher (see below). Remember: Panic is the enemy, in this race against time.
Know What You Will Be Asked
Make sure that you are aware of each of the following:
Where is the emergency?: The emergency is not always located where you are calling from. Always be aware of your surroundings and where you are. Try to keep a watch out for the road signs, business names and intersections whenever you may travel.
Nature of the emergency: Do you require assistance from law enforcement, medical professionals, and/or fire fighters? In certain areas, the dispatcher or a computer will tell you to dial certain numbers to help them know which department to connect you with and whom you should talk to.
A detailed, yet concise, description: What happened? How many details do you know? What should have the most importance? In general, the most important thing is why you need assistance (a gunshot wound, for example), followed by what caused you to need assistance (say, a school shooting).
The phone number of your phone. The dispatcher will need instructions on how to get to where you are, and may need to call back for more information. Know the phone number of your phone. Location. Know the address of the emergency and the nearest intersection (cross street), or be able to provide directions for the dispatcher to relay to the emergency responders.
Listen To The Dispatcher. Follow Orders
The better and faster you follow orders, the higher everyone's rate of survival will be. Even in a non-lethal situation (broken bones, etc.) this is of vital importance. Have strict, unwavering faith in the dispatcher. And remember that even if the dispatcher is still asking questions or giving instructions, help is on the way.
Do Not Hang Up Until Instructed To
Anything can happen, and the emergency services need to know your situation at all times. If the building is on fire for example, the dispatcher will need for the other people in the building if and where any safe exits are.