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Calling for Help 101

What You Need to Know About 911


Updated January 24, 2014

Emergency Calling Tips:

Summoning an ambulance during a medical emergency can be overwhelming. Being a good 911 caller can make the difference between getting help quickly or not getting it at all.

911 has been the number to call in most of the United States since about 1970. The very first 911 call was made in 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama. It is almost universal now, and many areas use enhanced 911, which tells emergency services where the call is originating from. Use the tips below when in need of an ambulance or other emergency service.

Know What to Expect When Calling for Help:

Stay calm and don't hang up are the two most common tips from 911 dispatchers everywhere. Don't be caught off-guard by this difficult experience.

Learn How to Be a Good 911 Caller

When to Call 911:

You may be unsure when to call 911. Maybe you don't want to bother emergency services. Maybe you just aren't sure if it is an emergency. From anaphylaxis to weakness, you may be surprised what deserves a 911 call.

When Should You Call 911?

Wireless 911 Differences:

Calling 911 on a house or office phone almost always tells the dispatcher the name of the subscriber and physical address of the telephone. Wireless phones are different. Only recently have federal regulations required cell phones to transmit the same information as standard hard-line telephones.

Before You Call 911 on a Cell Phone

Bad 911 Ideas:

Not all calls to 911 are emergencies, but some are truly a bad idea.

Five Worst Reasons to Call 911

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