911 Helpful Hints

Stay calm. It's important to take a deep breath and not get excited. Any situation that requires 911 is, by definition, an emergency. The dispatcher or call-taker knows that and will try to move things along quickly, but under control.

Know the location of the emergency and the number you are calling from. This may be asked and answered a couple of times but don't get frustrated. Even though many 911 centers have enhanced capabilities - meaning they are able to see your location on the computer screen - they are still required to confirm the information.

Wait for the dispatcher to ask questions, then answer clearly and calmly. If you are in danger of assault, the dispatcher will still need you to answer quietly, mostly "yes" and "no" questions.

Let the dispatcher guide the conversation. He or she is typing the information into the computer and may seem to be taking forever. Just remember that another dispatcher has dispatched emergency crews while the other dispatcher was asking questions.

Follow all directions. In some cases, the dispatcher will give you directions. Listen carefully, follow each step exactly, and ask for clarification if you don't understand.

Make sure your address is visible. Place three- to four-inch reflective numbers on the outside of your house and mailbox to help emergency responders find you.

Teach your children about dialing 911.