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Calling 911


By Andrew Jeffery - Posted on 20 August 2009

In the event of an emergency, call 911 from any phone.

Calling 911 is very stressful and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. If you call 911, the person answering is trained to guide you through the experience, but knowing what to expect can help make the 911 call go smoothly and get emergency help where and when it's needed. The following information should be reviewed and shared with your children.

911 calls placed in New Hampshire are answered in Concord by a centralized service and then forwarded to local dispatch centers. In Milford, the dispatch center for EMS, fire and police is MACC Base, located on the top of the Town Hall.

How to call 911

  • Stay calm. Keeping calm can dramatically reduce the length of time it takes to dispatch emergency personnel to your location and can help provide them with accurate information as they are en route.
  • Know the location of the emergency and know the phone number from which you called. Even though New Hampshire's 911 center has enhanced capabilities -- meaning they are able to see information about you on a computer screen -- they are still required to confirm the information. If for some reason you are disconnected, at least emergency crews will know where to go and how to call you back. Also, cell phones can be used from anywhere and we need to know where to go!
  • Wait for the call-taker to ask questions, then answer clearly and calmly. If you don't know something, say that you don't know rather than guess an answer.
  • If you reach a recording, listen to what it says. Although this happens very rarely, if the recording says your call cannot be completed, hang up and try again. If the recording says all call-takers are busy, wait! When the next call-taker or dispatcher is available to take the call, it will transfer you.
  • Let the call-taker guide the conversation. He or she is typing the information into a computer and may seem to be taking forever. There's a good chance, however, that emergency services are already being sent while you are still on the line.
  • Follow all directions. In some cases, the call-taker will give you directions. Listen carefully, follow each step exactly, and ask for clarification if you don't understand. If you cannot do something that is asked of you, inform the call-taker so they know what is going on.
  • Keep your eyes open. You may be asked to describe symptoms of ilness or injury, damage to vehicles, or other parts of the scene.
  • Do not hang up the call until directed to do so by the call-taker.

Cell phones

You can call 911 from a cell phone as well as a traditional "landline" phone. About 30% of all 911 calls in the US are made on cell phones. By law, wireless telephone providers are required to complete 911 calls, even if the phone is not activated. If you can turn on the phone, you can call 911 from it.

However, if you call from an inactive phone, there might not be a telephone number associated with it so you cannot be called back. If you're calling from such a cell phone and are disconnected, you must call 911 again as you cannot be called.

After the 911 call

After you have completed the 911 call for a medical emergency Milford Ambulance (and police and fire personnel, if needed) will be heading to your location. You can help them find you and help you with a few simple steps.

  • Have your house well marked. We rely on house numbers to find you. Is your house well marked from the street? How about at night? Having large, clear numbers that are easily visible from the street makes a big difference.
  • Help us get to you. If you can send someone out to meet us, please do so. We don't know what entrance you use or which room you are in. At night, turn on an outside light so we can easily see you.
  • Help us remain safe. We don't want anyone else to get hurt on a scene. If you can easily remove objects from our path then please do so. Remember we may have to wheel a stretcher next to the patient. Also, please make sure all dogs are crated or in another room with a closed door.
  • Help us assess you. The first thing we'll do when we arrive is assess our patient. If you can have available any information about medical history, current medications and allergies, this can help immensely.
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Milford Ambulance Service
66 Elm Street
Milford, NH 03055
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Phone: (603) 249-0610
Fax: (603) 249-0611
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