Don't Panic! Simple tips for calling 911 -

FOX 5 Medical Team

Don't Panic! Simple tips for calling 911

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"9-1-1: What's your emergency?"

Is a simple question. But Cliveita Caesar knows, in the heat of the moment, answering isn't so easy. She says, "Most of the callers are frantic, or very concerned about what's going on. They don't give us the information we need,"

Caesar is Director of 911 Communications for Grady EMS and she's been on the receiving end of thousands of emergency calls. If you call 911 in the City of Atlanta, there's a good chance your call will end up here in her communications center.

Caesar says try your best to stay calm and listen to what the 911 operator is asking you. She says one of the first things they need to know is where you are. Pinpointing your address is critical, especially if you're on a cellphone.

Caesar explains, "When you call 911 for police, medical, fire, you must tell us your address. It helps if you call from a landline because that information will automatically populate. But if you call from a cellphone, please tell us your address, your physical addresses."

That's the only way we can locate you. We can't get help to you if you don't know your address. Address is very important."

If you don't know the address, look around you for intersections or landmarks that can help first responders find you.

Next, the 911 operator will also ask you for your phone number, in case your call is disconnected. So, have that ready.

And when the operator asks you what's happening, Caesar says stay focused, and keep it simple. Focus on the immediate situation. She says, "Just tell us exactly what's happening at the moment, don't tell us how you've been sick. Just tell us exactly what the problem is then."

By the time you get this far into the call, emergency responders are probably already headed your way. And, if you don't know what to do, the 911 operator may be able to help.

Caesar says, "If you're having chest pains, we can offer aspirin. If you're having a seizure we'll stay on the line until the ambulance gets there. We can tell you things to do until the ambulance gets to that person while they're seizing."

Medical 911 calls may last longer, because the responders may need more information. But, Caesar says, the information you are relaying can be a critical piece of the puzzle.

She says, "We can save a life,. we can deliver a baby, we can do all that via the phone. So it's important for someone to stay on the line. If we're asking you a lot of questions, don't get angry because it can save a life."

So, stay calm, answer questions clearly – and help the first responders get the information they need to help you.

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