Everyone knows that in the United States, 9-1-1 is the universal number that should be called in the event of an emergency…or do they? 9-1-1 centers all over the US have encountered hurdles when educating the public about 9-1-1 and its uses. That’s why during the month of April, as part of National 9-1-1 Education Month, Champaign County 9-1-1 is urging all educational organizations, parents, and caregivers to assist with the “9-1-1 Education Challenge.” In April, our goal will be to educate as many people on 9-1-1, its uses, its challenges, and its future capabilities. Children and adults should have a good understanding of 9-1-1 and how it works in their area. 9-1-1 is available throughout the State of Illinois. There are many different levels of sophistication within the equipment and resources available at each 9-1-1 answering point.
With all the advances in technology, 9-1-1 has become much more complex. What started out as a simple concept has grown into a sophisticated infrastructure that needs constant attention and upgrading as technology changes. “Education is key and understanding the complexity of a 9-1-1 system is an important first step in education,”said METCAD Director Ralph Caldwell.
Some general guidelines for 9-1-1 are:
- 9-1-1 is for police, fire and medical emergencies.
- Know the location of the incident. Providing an accurate address is critically important – especially when making a wireless 9-1-1 call.
- Don’t call 9-1-1 for jokes or prank calls.
- When you call 9-1-1, pay attention to the questions that you are being asked and do not hang up until told to do so.
- Stay on the line with the 9-1-1 call taker and answer all questions. Stay calm and speak clearly. The more information they have, the better they are able to help you.
- If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, stay on the phone, do not hang up and just explain that your call is accidental.
- For further questions or for additional information, contact your local 9-1-1 Center.
- Additional information regarding the 9-1-1 Education Challenge and 9-1-1 resources is available at www.IL911info.org.
METCAD has educational materials available for organizations to utilize for education. If your organization would like to have a presentation on 9-1-1 in Champaign County, please contact Karen Clevenger at 217-265-5911 or [email protected].