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One Nation One Number

What would you do if you saw smoke billowing out of a neighbor's window? Would you know what to do if you heard someone trying to get into your house in the middle of the night? Allow me to introduce myself. I am 911 and I have helped millions of people for over 20 years, in some places even longer. I want you to know that I am here to help you if you ever need to call on me, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sounds like a work too much, I know, but I love my job! I will always be here for you. There are a few things that you should know that will help make my job easier if you ever need to call.

The first thing I always want to know when you call, is what emergency you are reporting. Is there a fire? Does someone need an ambulance? Maybe you are lost and need help finding home. I need to know the kind of emergency first, so I can start getting the right kind of help to you. You wouldn't want me to send you an ambulance if what you really needed was a fire truck. That wouldn't do at all. I will answer the phone by asking, "What is your emergency?" or "911, what are you reporting?"

The next thing of great importance to me is where the emergency is happening. When you call 911 I may know where you are by my computer screen, but I will always ask you to make sure the address is right. Sometimes you're not at the same place as the emergency that you’re reporting. Maybe there is a car accident at the end of your street, or you see a neighbor fall off of a ladder. In those cases, you'll need to give me directions so I can send the help where it's needed. This speeds up the time for help to arrive, and in 911 emergencies, every second counts.

Some emergencies involve people, possibly a fight, or a suspicious person hanging around a school. If you call in something that has a person or a car involved, try and tell me as much as you can about what the person, or car, looks like. Maybe the person has a big beard, or is wearing glasses. Try and notice the color of the clothes, or if the person is wearing a hat or carrying a weapon. A weapon could be a stick. a gun, or almost anything. Please tell me what ever you see, so I can tell my officers and they can be prepared.

Here is something I want you to always remember. 911 is only for emergencies that are in progress, which means they are happening right now. If someone is stealing your bicycle right now, it is an emergency and please call me right away for help. if someone stole your bicycle yesterday, this is not a 911 emergency and you can report it to the police on a non emergency number. It is a good idea to have the non-emergency number for police, fire and ambulance in a handy place.

One more thing. If you ever dial 911 by accident, make sure you stay on the phone and tell me it was only an accident. I worry something is wrong when someone calls 911, and then hangs up. I will send a police officer out to check on you, unless I know it was a mistake. I want all of you to know that if you ever do have to call 911, you don't need to be afraid. I am very friendly, and always here to help you. I really hope you never need to call on me, but if you do, we will both be ready.

Submitted by Lori Keiser