If you’ve ever had to make an emergency phone call, you will remember how stressful it was. Your heart was pounding, your palms were sweaty, and the stress of not wanting to screw-up a potentially lifesaving phone call probably had you tongue-tied. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, here are a couple of pointers that would have made my first time a little easier.
- First and foremost, CALM DOWN. You’re no good to anyone if your brain is all scrambled. You need to concentrate on your task. If you can’t concentrate properly, grab a pen and paper.
- Make sure you can clearly define the nature of the emergency. Is it fire, medical, or criminal? It could be more than one of these things. Don’t panic if it is.
- If it is a medical emergency; get as many details as you can about the patient as you can find out in less than thirty seconds: approximate age, gender, known medical conditions and allergies AND the specific reason you are calling for help (is the patient breathing/conscious?).
- Get the details about the location of the emergency: the street address, the nearest cross street (or prominent land mark), and the phone number.
- Ring the appropriate emergency services number. If you live in Australia, your number is 000.
- I’ll repeat that; the number in Australia is 000 (not 911, as someone old enough to know better yelled out a few weeks ago).
- Don’t hang up until help arrives (or instructed to do so by the dispatch operator).
A trip for travelers: when you check in to a motel get a couple of the motel’s business cards from reception (one business card for each member of your party). Make sure everyone carries it with them at all times; if you wake up at 2 am and the outside of the motel you’re staying at is on fire, you won’t have time to go digging through the courtesy stationery in the bedside table to find the motel’s address while you ring the fire brigade. Unfortunately, the emergency dispatcher you speak to may not have heard of the motel you’re staying in, or even be familiar with the town you’re calling from (but that is a story for another time). Another reason to keep the card with you is to show the taxi driver if you get lost and need a lift home (trust me on this one).
If you ever find yourself in the position of having to ring for help, I hope this advice makes the experience a little easier for you. As always, please share this information with your friends and family on social media.