Three Simple but Important Things to Do when Calling an Ambulance

Calling for an ambulance can be a difficult and stressful experience. In order to help the process go as smoothly as possible, try to keep in mind these three simple, but very important, instructions:

1. Speak clearly.
In order to help you, the emergency operator must be able to understand what you are saying. Take deep breaths, slow down your speaking pace, and state the details of the situation as distinctly as possible. Try to be concise rather than providing all the information at once. If the operator does not understand or needs more details, he or she will ask for clarification.

2. Know where you are calling from.
Whether or not the ambulance service has the ability to trace your call (for example, calls from landlines can usually be traced, but calls from cell phones cannot), it will greatly help if you can identify exactly where you are calling from. Give the street address, if possible. If you don’t know the address, or if you are outside or in a public location, give as much information about nearby streets, landmarks, or other location identifiers as you can.

3. Don’t hang up until instructed.
It is crucial that you stay on the line unless and until the emergency operator tells you to hang up. The operator may need to give you simple first-aid instructions over the phone. He or she may also need up-to-the-minute updates on the patient’s status or further information regarding your location.

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