WAKEFIELD —Police Chief Steven A. Skory and Fire Chief Michael Sullivan would like to share guidelines and tips in regard to accessing help in the midst of an emergency during National 9-1-1 Education Month.
According to the National Emergency Number Association, approximately 240 million calls are made to 911 each year in the United States. 9-1-1 Education Month is recognized across the country to conduct outreach and educate community members on 911 resources and practices.
“We’d like to take this time to remind our community to always call 911 in an emergency, or text if you cannot call safely or are deaf or hearing impaired,” Police Chief Skory said. “We hope the following tips are helpful reminders so that our community is prepared should they ever need to call 911.”
In order to make sure residents can access help in an emergency, Chief Skory and Chief Sullivan are providing the following safety tips from the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA):
Reach 9-1-1 Via Phone OR Text
Text to 911 is available across the Commonwealth, and the Wakefield Police and Fire Departments wish to remind residents that 911 through messaging is an alternative to a typical phone call.
To contact emergency services by text message, simply enter 911 in the “To” field of your mobile device and then type your message into the message field. It is the same process that is used for sending a regular text message from your mobile device. It is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can.
Wakefield’s Police and Fire Departments also advise residents should be sure their text message, in addition to their location, includes their name, a brief explanation of the emergency at hand and if anyone is hurt or in immediate danger.
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or in a situation where speaking is not possible can benefit from using messaging services to reach emergency services, but if possible a traditional voice call is the best way to reach 911.
For additional information about silent call procedures, click here.
Know Your Location
With wireless calls, 911 operators locate the general vicinity of callers, but more information may be needed in order for emergency services to find exact locations. Be prepared to provide detailed information on your location to assist the 911 operator.
Those who are hearing impaired or otherwise unable to communicate through a phone call are advised to use the 911 text service in an emergency.
Stay Calm and Don’t Hang Up
Unless instructed to do otherwise, you should stay on the line when calling 9-1-1 in order to provide necessary information to the 911 operator. Even if you accidentally dial 9-1-1, you should stay on the line and inform the operator that there is no emergency and that you dialed accidentally. While on the phone, please answer the telecommunicator’s questions. They are trying to determine whether or not there is an emergency or if someone is in need of assistance.
In order to learn more about NASNA and their efforts to improve emergency response through supporting 911 education and awareness, click here.
About National 9-1-1 Education Month
April is designated as National 9-1-1 Education Month, recognized by the United States Congress in 2008. According to NASNA, it aims to support the efforts of the National 911 Education Coalition through the promotion of resources and materials that help to educate about the optimal use of 9-1-1 services across the country.