It isn’t hard to call 999 or 911 in an emergency but these tips will help to ensure that during a medical emergency, that call is as successful as possible. We also believe that it is very important that you teach your children how to call emergency services for help should it ever be needed.
Are They Wearing a Medical Alert Bracelet or ID Necklace?
Check the person over to see if they are wearing any medical alert bracelets on their wrists or an ID necklace. These types of medical alert jewellery is usually worn on the pulse points, as it’s common to check heart rate in an emergency which in turn leads to them being seen.
Check any jewellery that carries a medical symbol – a Caduceus (snake and staff) or Star of Life – as well as anything that carries their name. If the person has collapsed, this jewellery could give the answers as to why.
What Help Do You Need?
You need to understand the difference between a life threatening emergency and a situation where you need general advice and care. You could sum up a life threatening emergency as one in which the person is seriously ill, injured, or their life is at risk. This could involve loss of consciousness, continued confusion or seizures, persistent severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped, severe allergic reactions, or even severe burns or scalds.
Call the Number
Remember that you can use your cell phones to call an emergency number even if the phones don’t have available minutes. And you don’t need to unlock it either, so don’t be bashful about using someone else’s. You could possibly add the number to speed dial but you need to be very careful that you don’t accidently call the number when it’s not needed.
If you call 999 or 911 by mistake, do NOT hang up. Stay on the line to explain it was a mistake.
Describe the Location
You cannot rely on your cell phone to do this for you (they don’t always transmit an accurate location to the emergency operator). As an example, mine for some reason today says that I am in Manchester. This is many, many miles out from my actual location.
If you are inside a house, and you don’t know the address, look around for some post or a piece of mail that might tell you what the address is. Alternatively, look outside at the house number or the mailbox. If you’re out and about, try to give details of nearby cross streets, or any well known landmarks in the area. The more specific you can be, the quicker emergency services teams will be able to find you.
Whenever possible, you should always try to give the emergency operator a phone number that they can call you back on in case the line gets disconnected. Your mobile number would be an obvious one, or if you’re calling from a landline, the owner may have written the number on the handset or base unit.
Describe the Emergency
Remain as calm as possible and try to clearly and succinctly describe the emergency. Try to give only specific information that will help them get the care that they need. If the person is wearing medical jewellery like we mentioned above, make sure to explain any information from them. Respond clearly to questions from the operator, and remember you can probably talk faster than they can type! Keep a cool head and it will be easier for them to send the right type of help.
When the call is complete, stay with the person and collect any other information that could help paramedics when they arrive. Try to remove any hazards that may be blocking access to the location so that the ambulance crew can access the area, and get back in touch with the emergency operator if the situation changes.
Following these tips for calling 999 or 911 will help get the person the best possible medical care in an emergency.