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When to call 911

Feb 08, 2021 by Eileen Adler

Do not hesitate to dial 911 if:

1. A fire breaks out

2. A medical emergency happens. 

3. You witness a crime or possible crime

4. If you are in or see a car crash. 

It was in 1937 when London first introduced an emergency system, and their chosen number was “999,” their rationale was that it would be difficult to dial this number by accident. They no longer use that number but be forewarned that there is no universal number and different protocols are used in different countries. 

If you do call for an emergency, first and foremost, stay calm and do not panic. When the dispatcher answers your call, know your location and what the emergency is. If it is apparent, begin CPR. Even if you do not know how to do this, the emergency dispatcher has been trained to teach you over the phone. CPR should be used if the patient is not breathing or does not have a pulse. We may worry that we could cause more harm by performing CPR incorrectly, but chest compressions can save lives.   

A sigh of relief as you hear the sirens racing to your location. The ambulance arrives usually with two caregivers: a paramedic and an EMT (Emergency medical technicians) who provide on-site emergency care.  

Don’t mess with “911” because there are steep penalties if you are found to be abusing the system. No pranks or fake call but what if you dial “911” by mistake? Again, stay calm and do not panic but do not hang up, rather stay on the line, and explain what happened.

Life Lesson: Learn CPR through the American Red Cross or take an on-line course. If you remember the 1970s song, “Staying Alive” sung by the Bee Gees from the movie “Saturday Night Fever,” you have the rhythm for CPR. This iconic song was selected because the beat is close to the beats per minute for chest compressions, about 100 to 120 per minute, and it was found that singing this song resulted in a better quality of the life-saving technique.  

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive.

To listen to the song, check out: Staying Alive

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