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Chief’s Chatter: 9-1-1, What’s Your Emergency?

Sunday, February 10, 2019 @ 12:02 AM

Posted by Jake Bauer

cataldo“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”

This could be the most important call you ever make. Most people never have to call 9-1-1 and that’s a good thing, but when the time comes that you do, here are a few hints to make your call a little easier.

Let’s start out with a little class of the Clarion County 9-1-1 center.

There are 3 dispatchers on duty 24/7 365. Number one answers your call, number two is in charge of dispatching Police only and number three is in charge of dispatching Fire and/or EMS.

Dispatcher one answers your call. While you are talking, and she is asking you important questions, she is also typing. As soon as she types in your location, and the emergency, another dispatcher is receiving what she types and can dispatch first responders a bit early before knowing the entire situation. We call this a pre-trip. It allows first responders a little extra time to get started in the right direction.

So, let’s go over a call scenario – a fire:

9-1-1: 9-1-1 What is the address of the emergency
Caller: 123 Main St, Knox
9-1-1: What Township or Borough?
Caller: Knox Borough
9-1-1: What is your telephone number?
Caller: 814-555-1234
9-1-1: What is your name?
Caller: John Smith
9-1-1: Okay, tell me exactly what happened?
Caller: My house is on fire!
9-1-1: Are you at that location now?
Caller: Yes
9-1-1: Do you see flames or smoke?
Caller: Both
9-1-1: What type of building is involved?
Caller: My house
9-1-1: How many floors or stories are there?
Caller: 2
9-1-1: Is anyone trapped inside the building?
Caller: No
9-1-1: Where exactly is the fire?
Caller: Kitchen and living room
9-1-1: Which floor is the fire on?
Caller: 1st floor
9-1-1: Is anyone injured?
Caller: No
9-1-1: “I’m sending the fire department to help you now. Stay on the line and I’ll tell you exactly what to do next. If it’s safe to do so, leave the building, close the doors behind you, and remain outside. Do not try to put the fire out. Do not carry out anything that is on fire.

If it is safe to do so:

  • Keep all bystanders away from the area.
  • Assign someone to guide the emergency crews to the general area.
  • Do not approach or enter any hazardous or dangerous areas.

I’m going to let you go now. Help is on the way. If anything worsens in any way, call us back immediately for further instructions.”

Once you hang up, this will be one of the longest waits you’ve ever had. Our response time is pretty good. We can be out of our station is under 4 minutes. And that’s from being in our homes, driving to the station, getting our gear on, loading up the trucks with firefighters and proceeding to the scene. Since we live in a rural area it can take another 5 to 10 minutes to get to you. Please, never go back into a burning building for personal affects. But, that’s for another Chief’s Chatter.

Remember, the life you safe could be your own.

The Chief


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