Catawba County News

I Need an Ambulance!  What Do I Do?

I Need an Ambulance! What Do I Do?

Published: December 27, 2021

I Need an Ambulance. What Do I Do?

“Catawba County 911. What is your emergency?” These are words we never want to hear but probably will within the course of our lives. So what actually happens when we call 911?

The person who answers the phone is a 911 Telecommunicator who has had extensive training in identifying what is going on, how the caller can handle things until help arrives, and getting you the help you need. These are truly the first, first responders. They will ask a lot of things you make think are unnecessary but it’s important that you answer the questions. You are the eyes and ears for that telecommunicator and your answers help you get what you need. Try your best to be calm so they can understand you and help you.

Right off the bat they are going to ask the address of the emergency. The address does appear on the screen but that can be affected by cell phones and internet phones so it is quicker to just ask what the address is. They will also ask the phone number you are calling from. Don’t hang up until they tell you to! They are going to help you! They will then ask a series of questions including (but not limited to) “Is the person awake? Are they breathing? Are they having pain?” The questions they ask are dependent on the answers you give so please try to listen to and answer the questions asked. What is happening that you can’t see or hear is that another telecommunicator is dispatching help to you. Don’t fear that no one is on the way because they are. They are simply trying to see how much help you need and what you can do to help now.

I’m sure someone is thinking, can’t they just send everyone with lights and sirens? The answer is no. It’s just not safe. Think about a time you have seen an ambulance, firetruck, or police car screaming down the road with lights and sirens. What do the other cars do? They do lots of things. Slam on the brakes, swerve erratically, follow the siren. All very unsafe maneuvers. What they should do, by law, is pull to the right and stop but that doesn’t always happen. That is one reason we don’t send everyone to everything with lights and sirens. It’s just not safe for anyone.

Once the telecommunicator identifies the issue and has help coming to you, they will provide instructions to the caller to help until other first responders arrive. They can give instructions on CPR, childbirth, choking, and many other things. These are very helpful instructions so be sure to listen and act on the instructions given.

If you have a medical emergency, do not hesitate to call 911. We are here to help you!