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Calling 911: What To Say To The EMS Dispatcher

When fielding a 911 call, the emergency medical services (EMS) dispatcher may ask you the following questions, to which you should answer as indicated:

Q. What is your emergency?

A. Describe the situation as extensively as possible, such as by saying "A player had sudden chest pain and has now collapsed", or "She was hit in the chest with a lacrosse ball, has now lost consciousness and doesn't seem to be breathing."

Q. What's happening now?

A. Describe what you are doing, either initiating first aid or trying to find someone who can, such as by saying "My friend is giving CPR. We have an automated external defibrillator (AED) or, we are trying to find a medically trained person to assist us."

Q. Where is the victim located?"

A. Provide as much detail as is necessary to allow EMS to find you, such as "We are at the high school football field, at the goalpost nearest the school."

Q. What number are you calling from?"

A. Just give the phone number: "The number is 978-555-1313."

The dispatcher may give directions such as "Stay on the line until I tell you to hang up. Rescuers are being sent to your location. Please meet them and direct them to the scene."

Some dispatchers provide first aid instructions, such as for CPR and the use of an AED, over the phone.

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