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Keep These in Mind When Calling 911 During an Emergency

Posted on May 1, 2013

An emergency is not planned, but anticipating what you’ll need to know during one can help you cope with the stress you may experience. If the medical emergency involves a person who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that requires immediate medical attention such as stroke, call 911.

Keep These in Mind When Calling 911 During an Emergency

Be prepared to answer the following as clearly as possible when you are connected to the dispatcher:

  • Where is your emergency?
  • What is your phone number?
  • What is your name?
  • What is the emergency?
  • Who is injured?
  • What symptoms is the patient suffering?

DO NOT hang up until the dispatcher has all the needed information and tells you to do so.

While you are waiting for emergency services to arrive:

  • If it is dark out, put the outside house light on.
  • Unlock the door and keep the door open.
  • If there is another person with you and if it is all possible, have them wait at the doorway to wait for the ambulance or emergency responders.
  • Do not move the person unless it is absolutely necessary for their safety.

Be prepared to answer the following questions once emergency personnel arrive:

  • What happened and the time it occurred?
  • What was the person doing leading up to the emergency?
  • What is the person’s medical history?
  • Are there are any drug allergies?
  • What are the medications including the dosage and frequency? If you have a current list of medications, give it to the emergency personnel.
  • Who is the person’s physician?


Courtesy of Kaytie Olshefski, RNC, BS, nursing coordinator of Adult Senior Communities in Monroe Township on behalf of Saint Peter’s University Hospital. As part of a multi-year, multi-phase expansion of its Emergency Services, Saint Peter’s has opened the new Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department, one of the largest pediatric EDs in central New Jersey (Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer, Monmouth, Union counties.)