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When someone calls 9-1-1 it is often a life or death situation where seconds count, and knowing when and how to call can make a massive difference. 9-1-1 should always and only be used to save a life, stop a crime, or report a fire in progress. When calling 9-1-1, the first person you will talk to is a trained dispatcher whose job is to gather as much information as possible so that the emergency services can better assist you. Be prepared to answer a few questions. Stay calm and answer all questions to the best of your ability. It is important that you stay on the phone until the dispatcher tells you it is okay to disconnect. Be prepared to answer questions about the location of the incident, where you are calling from, your name, and phone number.
It is important to understand that emergency help is being dispatched and on its way while you are on the phone. Staying on the line with the dispatcher WILL NOT slow the response of emergency responders. The more information you give the dispatcher, the better prepared the emergency personnel will be when they arrive on scene.
When should I call 9-1-1 and when should I call the non-emergency number?
9-1-1 is an emergency line that should only be used when an emergency situation is occurring at the time the call is made. All other calls should be made to the non-emergency number at (503)-823-3333. A good time to call the non emergency number would be if your car was stolen overnight, a runaway child returned home, or your house was broken into yesterday. The non-emergency number is NOT for directions, road conditions, phonebook listings, or questions of any kind.
For questions about the Police Bureau, visit http://www.portlandpolice.org. Get to know more about Portland Fire & Rescue at http://www.portlandonline.com/fire. For general questions related to City business, call the information and referral line at (503) 823-4000.
If either the non-emergency number or 9-1-1 is called accidently, be sure to stay on the line until a dispatcher picks up and let them know it was a mistake and that there is no emergency. Dispatchers are required to follow-up on all 9-1-1 calls that hang up, which can take them away from actual emergency calls. It is very important that children know that it isn’t okay to call 9-1-1 when there is no emergency, and know how to call when there is.
Emergencies are inevitable and unpredictable, so constantly being alert and prepared is crucial to keeping yourself and everyone around you safe. Knowing what number to call and what to say in the event of an emergency is what saves lives.
Blog story courtesy of PF&R Summer Intern Thomas Lo Sciuto.
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