When you need to call 911, here are a few tips to remember . . .

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 to assist you quickly and efficiently and send you the appropriate assistance. Situations involving the need to call 911 can be frightening, but there are several precautions that you can take to make the process run smoothly for you and the 911 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 and place the call by dialing 9 1 1

    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!
  • Remain calm

    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.
  • What does the operator need to know?

    Make sure that you are aware of each of the following:
    • The location of 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 intersections and mileposts along with your direction of travel.
    • What is the 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.
    • Prepare yourself to deliver a detailed, yet concise, description:

      What happened? What 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 dispatcher need to know the number of the phone you are calling from. The dispatcher will need instructions on how to get to where you are, and may need to call back for more information.

      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.

      Take note of vehicle descriptions, suspect descriptions and direction of travel as the suspects leave the scene.

      Suspects: Your dispatcher will need as much of the following information about suspects that you can provide:

      The suspect’s name if you know it, race, sex, age, height, weight, hair color, eye color, clothing including hat, jacket, shirt pants, shoes.

      Vehicles: Your dispatcher will need as much of the following information about suspect vehicle(s) that you can provide: Color, year, make, model, body style and license number, any special features you may note (loud exhaust, dents etc.) and direction of travel.

    • Medical Emergencies:

      If you are reporting a medical emergency your operator will need to know the following:

      Are with the patient now?

      How many people are hurt?

      Age of the patients?

      Is the patient awake?

      Is the patient breathing?

      Additional information may be requested by the operator depending on medical protocol.
  • 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:

    Anything can happen, and the emergency services need to know your situation at all times during the emergency. If the building is on fire, for example, the dispatcher will need information about the other people in the building along with if and where any safe exits are. Hang up only when instructed to.

If You Have Any Questions About The Information, DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE MASON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE AT (360) 427-9670 X313