STRATFORD, Conn. -- April is National 911 Education Month, and the National 911 Education Coalition is encouraging residents to learn the do's and do not's when it comes to using the emergency system, said J.P. Sredzinski, Stratford's Emergency Medical Communications supervisor.
Here are some tips and tricks to using the system:
- Do dial 911 only for an emergency. An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding), any type of hazard or fire (business, car, building), or any life-threatening situation. You are also urged to call 911 to report crimes that are in progress, whether or not a life is threatened.
- Do not dial 911 for a non-emergency. Instead, dial the Stratford non-emergency number at 203-385-4100. A non-emergency is a property damage accident, break-in of a vehicle when the suspect is gone, lift assist, water problem, etc.
- Do not hang up the telephone if the 911 call rings multiple times. Stay on the line until someone answers.
- If you dialed 911 in error, do not hang up. Instead, stay on the line and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed by mistake and that you do not have an emergency.
- In emergencies, The dispatchers have been trained to ask questions that will help prioritize the incident, locate it and send an appropriate response. Your answers should be brief and responsive. Remain calm and speak clearly.
- Do be prepared to describe the location of your emergency.
- Although an Enhanced 911 system will display your telephone number and location, the dispatcher must confirm the displayed address or ask you for more specific location information about your emergency. Further, Enhanced 911 will only do this when the call originates from a landline.
- Cellular 911 callers can possibly be routed to a nearby answering point such as the State Police, Milford or Bridgeport. Be prepared to give the dispatcher your complete location: tell them Stratford, the address or best location, inside or outside, what floor or apartment, etc.
- Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to.
Remember that location is the most important information you can provide, give a brief description of the problem and patiently answer questions.