This useful pamphlet will prove to be a valuable resource for individuals faced with any type of emergency. It stresses that knowledge is the best defense against unexpected situations, with planning and preparedness laying the foundation for that knowledge.
Beginning with small-scale emergencies, this pamphlet breaks down the appropriate steps that must happen in order to receive immediate assistance. Whether the emergency in question requires help from police, the fire department, or emergency medical personnel, there is one source for all of these services: 9-1-1. It’s appropriate to call 9-1-1 for emergencies like house fires, car accidents, medical emergencies, or crimes that are in progress.
For those who find themselves in a situation where they have to call emergency services, it’s crucial to be a prepared 9-1-1 caller. Dispatchers will need to know where the emergency is happening, including the street address and other location information (which floor, the front or backyard, etc.), and the nature of the emergency. They will also ask about the phone number from which the individual is calling. Should the call get disconnected, the dispatcher will be able to return the call. Any additional details about the emergency should also be provided. This may include describing suspected perpetrators, injuries or medical symptoms, or locations of any fires burning.
Callers should follow all instructions that the dispatcher provides and they should only hang up once the dispatcher instructs them to do so. Accidental 9-1-1 calls are becoming more a common issue thanks to the phenomenon of “pocket dialing.” Even if 9-1-1 is dialed erroneously, callers should not hang up. The dispatcher may believe that an emergency exists and send responders. Callers should explain to the dispatcher what has happened. And perhaps the most important part of being a responsible 9-1-1 caller is remembering that 9-1-1 is for dangerous or life-threatening emergencies only!
Moving forward, the pamphlet covers large-scale emergencies, which may include acts of terror, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. In situations like these, thousands of people may be affected and 9-1-1 may be unavailable. Preparedness is a must in these types of situations. Individuals should know the risks and hazards of the area and take steps to minimize their impact, like elevating homes or installing storm windows.
Creating a family disaster plan helps to ensure that everyone in the household understands what to do in the event of an emergency. This plan may include information like escape and evacuation routes, who will be responsible for shutting utilities off, a family communiciation plan, and how important records will be safeguarded. Families should also take classes in first aid, CPR, and how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
The final element in being prepared for a large-scale emergency is having a disaster supplies kit. This kit should have supplies for at least three days and it should include items like water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, flashlights, and blankets. The pamphlet concludes by noting that when people stay calm and use common sense in an emergency, it can mean the difference between life and death.
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