By Heather D. Green
One of the first and most important things a person encountering an emergency is to get help! Most often this means calling 911, the emergency number.
The call taker or dispatcher must know the correct location of the emergency and the nature of the problem. The dispatcher will ask if police, medical, or fire service is required. Police will be needed if a crime or suspect criminal act has occurred. Suspicious people or property damage also calls for police to attend. Medical service EMS is required for injuries or sudden illness. Fire Service is required for fire or incidents involving dangerous goods, transport, or car accidents. The dispatcher will ask questions and/or give instructions. It is very difficult to answer without full details of the incident.
I had fire dispatch ask me questions on the status of an activated fire alarm. Unfortunately, I did not have the complete, correct and current information to give the dispatcher so he couldn't give the fire crews the proper instructions. It was awkward, as I knew the information the fire crew needed, to do their job properly!