Dialing 911 puts residents in contact with our Los Angeles County Fire Dispatchers, a group of highly trained and dedicated professionals who will assist callers in getting the help they need. Remember, 911 is intended solely for emergency situations.
“It is extremely important that the public understand the importance of our 911 operating system and how it operates,” said Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby. “This way, they will be better prepared to use it when an emergency arises.”
In honor of National 911 Education Month in April, here are some Do’s and Don’ts for calling 911:
- DO use 911 only in emergency situations.
- DO know your location when calling for help.
- DO keep your phone locked when not in use to avoid calling 911 accidentally.
- DO listen carefully, speak clearly and remain calm when speaking to a 911 dispatcher.
- DO teach children how to properly use 911
- DON’T program 911 into your phone.
- DON’T hang up if you accidentally dial 911.
- DON’T call 911 and ask for non-emergency numbers.
- DON’T use 911 as an “information line.”
- DON’T call 911 for a tow truck or taxi—dispatchers cannot transfer callers.
“Understanding how to use 911 correctly will not only increase your chance of survival, but also help to give our first responders a better scope of the emergency situation,” Chief Osby said. “Our 911 system is a tool that if used correctly can save a person’s life.”
The three-digit 911 emergency number first came into use in 1968, when AT&T announced that it would establish 911 as the emergency code throughout the United States. According to the National Emergency Number Association, “The code 9-1-1 was chosen because it best fit the needs of all parties involved. First, and most important, it met public requirements because it is brief, easily remembered, and can be dialed quickly. Second, because it is a unique number, never having been authorized as an office code, area code, or service code, it best met the long range number plans and switching configurations of the telephone industry.”
Though it’s been in use since the late 1960s, it was not until 1999 that Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to make 911 the country’s official universal emergency number for all telephone services, according to the FCC.
“For 40 years, 911 has served as the vital link between the American public and emergency services,” Chief Osby said. “Public education and awareness initiatives throughout the years have contributed in large measure to the incredible and ongoing success of the emergency communications system as a whole.”
For more information on National 911 Education Month, visit www.know911.org.
Featured photo: The Dispatch center for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Photo by Doug Morrison.