How to Call 911/000/999/112 or Whatever Your Emergency Number Is (Unendorsed)
- Knowing your emergency number is a good start. You can usually find it in your phone book. Or on its website.
- Know what constitutes an 'emergency'. Everyday emergency personnel are tied up with things that should never have been called through to an emergency service. There will always be the people who downplay an actual emergency and don't call, and people who will call for things that are able to be handled in a different way. If you are not sure call, but when an operator, trained in these things, advises that it isn't an emergency matter and gives you alternatives, take them. Our Triple Zero website lays it out simply:
- Is someone seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help?
- Is your life or property being threatened?
- Have you just witnessed a serious accident or crime? Yes? Then call. But notice the time-frames—'is', 'being', 'just'—we're talking present and recent past here, or threats for the mimmediate future.
- Know where you are. And know that in order to get you help, that is the first thing we need to find out. It is not CSI and we can't trace your phone unless you are on a landline, and who has one of those these days. Helping you is impossible if we cannot locate and verify your location in our computer system. So if you call it 'the freeway', know that we deal with them all (in your state or territory or county, or whatever area we cover) and you need to specify. Other things to remember: roads change names, we don't necessarily know where your local MacDonalds is, freeways do go through suburbs and they have 'intersections' where they meet other roads—these things narrow down large expanses of space to where you are and get the services to you quicker. We don't ask just to be annoying.
- Answer the questions, and just the questions we ask. They are designed to help the services to help you. We don't need the full background or your opinion of the other parties involved (unless relevant). A description of 'fat @%' is not going to help police find an offender; 'red hair, black jeans and a tartan shirt' is. And answering the questions quickly, concisely, does not delay the process. Arguing and yelling at people who have no interest in a verbal dispute with you and all interest in getting you some assistance does.
- Remember that a call takes a couple of minutes, but that an emergency vehicle, no matter how quickly it is trying to get to you, may take longer. They are endeavouring to be there but they cannot teleport. Keep yourself safe, take the operators advice, do not aggravate any situation. Ultimately emergency services are there to help you, but you have to help yourself too.
- Unless something changes, calling back does not get anyone there faster—it just ties up the communication system. If they are not there, there is a reason and it is very rarely to do with donuts (unless the donut store has been held up). They will get there as quickly as they can, but there may be something even worse happening somewhere else. If you are unhappy about how many emergency services workers there are, and the delays, then when this is all over, call whoever is in control of that—your minister most likely—and lobby and lobby and lobby. We know there aren't enough, but we can't make more from ingredients in the work kitchen. Only money from governments does that and it is a hard thing to get.
Things to remember:
- Police can't give you a ride home just because you spent all your money on booze. More likely your ride will be via the cells.
- Police can't make a bar or club let you in—it's up to the establishment who comes in and who doesn't.
- Police can't stop someone parking on the street outside your house—in most cases you don't own the street outside your house.
- If a car is driving erratically and you are following it, on the phone to an emergency number, you are possibly even more erratic.
- Take some responsibilty: the police shouldn't have to settle an argument with your girlfriend over the bills, or scare your children into behaving because you can't control them, or make the fish and chip shop give you more chips ... I have to stop, I'm remembering how much people annoy me. Hope this helps, but when you're stressed, I understand, you will probably forget the whole thing. It would be easier for you if you didn't.
Who wore it better?
Doing the link-in love-in today with: