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Safety and Security

Calling 911

Calling 911

It has been my experience that most people feel some level of trepidation when calling 911, a reaction that would indicate there is more to calling 911 than just pushing three digits.  I will try to allay your fears, increase your comfort, and prepare you to make a 911 call.  

You’re nervous - so was everybody else

The fact is, nearly everyone is nervous about calling 911.  There is a certain “this is it” moment when you dial 911, the adrenaline is flowing, you are feeling a bit rattled, and somehow the act of calling 911 has made the situation that much more “real” when you hadn’t even realized you were experiencing some level of denial.  Please know that if you’re nervous - so was everybody else that ever called 911.  The call-takers are used to it.  They are experts at cutting through confusion, expect them to be very direct and unemotional. They are trained to have a neutral mindset which helps them to be efficient and perform well under pressure.  

If there’s doubt about it - there’s no doubt about it!

The decision to call 911 can be a tough one. Generally, I feel, if there’s doubt about it - there’s no doubt about it…Call 911. If you are still unsure you can call Rivercom at 509-663-9911, you’ll still get an emergency call-taker, but the phone may ring a few more times before they answer. 

Our area also has the ability to receive text-to-911 messages, however, a voice call remains the best way to reach 911. You can call 911 from ALL wireless phones, even uninitialized phones that are not subscribed to or supported by a specific carrier can call 911. Calling from a cell phone has three advantages 1. If you need to be mobile you can take the phone with you. 2. Cell phones have geolocation so we can find you and 3. The 911 operator can call you back even if you've left your office or classroom. District desk phones are “VOIP telephones” so your specific location WILL NOT be automatically sent to Rivercom, you must tell them where you are.

Don’t play 911 hot potato

Do not rely on the notion someone else will do it - step up and make the call yourself.  If you are unable to call, pick out an individual and tell them to call.  Don’t make a generalized announcement, pick somebody, physically point at them, and say, “You, call 911.”

What can I expect?

911 call centers follow protocols that guide callers through a sequence of questions to quickly obtain information necessary for dispatching the right responders to the right location. Call-takers may also provide instructions about what to do until help arrives. When you call 911, be prepared to answer the call-taker’s questions, which may include:

  • The location of the emergency
  • The phone number you are calling from
  • The nature of the emergency

Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency

The call-takers questions are important to get the right kind of help to you as quickly as possible. Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you. Call-takers can tell you exactly what to do until help arrives, such as providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR. Do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you to do so.

Be a Hero.

Hollywood would have you think that heroes can save the world with their superpowers but that’s just make-believe. In reality, when it comes to heroes the ratio is one-to-one.  One ordinary person does what they can for one other person in need - that is how heroism really works and I know there is a hero in you.

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