The Social Diary ~
on-line magazine covering High Society ..& more
911 - When
To Call, What To Say
The Social Diary Safety Educator Columnist Monica Zech
Column #12, April 24th, 2006
Calling 9-1-1 In An
FIRST - WHAT IS AN EMERGENCY?
An emergency can be defined as a situation that poses
an imminent danger to life or property. You can make
a determination of a situation by asking yourself this question:
Are the police, fire department or paramedic assistance needed
right now to protect life or property? For instance, any fire
or smell of smoke, a heart attack, an in-progress assault, a shooting
or an injury traffic collision are examples of calls for which
9-1-1 should be used.
For non-emergency service, call your Police Department. For example
in El Cajon you should dial (619) 579-3311. Non-emergency calls
would include those such as reporting a loud party, a bicycle
stolen some time ago, an assault that may have happened yesterday
or a burglary that may have happened some time earlier.
As a good rule of thumb, if you can't decide whether the call
is an emergency or not, it is better to err on the side of safety.
In other words, when in doubt, dial 9-1-1.
When you should call 9-1-1?
In An Emergency - (also teach your children)
When you need help
When you need the police, fire department or an ambulance.
To try and stay calm, speak up and clearly
Explain what's wrong - what type of an emergency
Explain what type of help you need - fire, police, ambulance.
Explain where they are and where help is needed.
Give your name and address loudly and clearly.
Answer all questions that are asked of you.
Do not hang up until the dispatcher says it's ok to do so.
Teach your children their address - the dispatcher may ask them
to confirm the address on their screen.
Let your child know that 9-1-1 dispatchers are there to help in
If they accidentally call 9-1-1, tell them not to be afraid and
to stay on the line to tell the dispatcher you dialed incorrectly
- when a dispatcher gets a hang-up they'll call you back to make
sure there wasn't an actual emergency.
Make sure they understand it's for emergencies only and not to
play pranks etc. But - please do not use this number to practice
calling - please UNPLUG the phone while you practice
How To Describe Where You Are Located?
Look for street names, big signs, or buildings you know.
Tell the dispatcher where you were coming from, where you are
now and where you were going to (i.e. we left home to go to grandma's
Tell the dispatcher if you are in a car, walking, or riding a
bike, in a store, etc.
When should you NOT call 9-1-1?
When there is no emergency
For animals (for your pets, cats in trees)
As a game or prank
As a joke
For information (Call 4-1-1 or 2-1-1)
For directions (Sea World, Zoo etc)
For directory assistance
For paying tickets
When you're bored and just want to talk.
Please note: At the
first signs of symptoms, if you are feeling ill, have trouble
breathing, strange aches and pains - see your doctor as soon as
possible. Often people wait too long, experiencing these symptoms
for days - it may be too late when you finally seek help.
Stay Safe - Monica Zech, Safety
Educator, City of El Cajon - for more safety information visit
www.elcajonfire.com or www.elcajonpolice.org - for a safety lecture
contact me at email@example.com or call (619) 441-1737.
For more safety information please visit
our web site at El
Monica Zech is the Public Information
Officer and Safety Educator for the City of El Cajon and for El
Cajon Police and Fire Departments. For safety tips please
visit El Cajon
Fire.com In community work, Zech is the President
on the board for the Trauma Research Education Foundation-TREF
and a board member with Communities Against Substance Abuse-CASA.
In March, Monica received the County's 2005 Individual Health
Champion Award for her safety lectures in the community and throughout
and visit Zech's
Web Site ,or Monica
Zech at (619) 441-1737.
to New this Week.......Monica
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