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When to Call 911 (And When to Call Someone Else!)

From those early years as elementary school students, we’re taught to “CALL 911” in the event of an emergency.


But what exactly constitutes an emergency that is 911-worthy? Even as adults, it’s often not entirely clear.


And it’s a critically important question to consider. After all, we want to be sure that we’re balancing our potential need for emergency medical services with the fact that resources can sometimes be limited as EMS is sometimes pulled in too many directions. Imagine if - on a given day - all EMS vehicles are dispatched to non-emergency situations, and you suddenly experienced a cardiac event or were seriously injured in a car accident. The prompt attention required to save your life might not be available to you - but had some of the non-emergency callers known to reach out to the police station or their healthcare professionals, those Paramedics, EMTs, and EMS vehicles could’ve come to your rescue.


This is exactly why our team at NDP EMS wants to shed light on some examples of when it’s essential to call 911, and when you might take a different course of action instead:


Call 911 for the following:

  • Upon signs of a cardiac emergency/stroke (difficulty breathing, dizziness, chest pain, face drooping, slurred speech, numbness)

  • If someone is unconscious/unresponsive

  • If an intruder is trying to break into your home

  • If you’re having serious medical symptoms (like those mentioned above - and/or severe bleeding, dizziness, confusion, etc)

  • In the event of a bad fall which has left you or a loved one fairly immobile

  • If suffering major burns or your home is on fire


Call your doctor/healthcare professional if you or a loved one has any of the following:

  • Fever or flu-like symptoms

  • Possible concussion

  • Rash

  • General malaise

  • Minor cuts/scrapes, injuries, or falls

  • Minor bleeding

  • Minor burns


Call the police:

  • If a crime has just occurred or you are suspicious that a crime is about to take place

  • When you have been in a minor (or major) car accident


Again - as we’ve said in the past - if you think that you or your loved one is experiencing heart attack, stroke, or major medical emergency, remember that EVERY SECOND COUNTS. Some of these events can be catastrophic if not attended to quickly - and in those cases we ask that you do NOT delay nor should you think twice about following an instinct to call 911.


As a reminder, one skill that EVERYONE can learn in just a few hours is CPR, which we offer at NDP EMS on a regular basis. Call today to sign up for this class, which could also help save a life: 845.876.0448 X136.


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