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What to do when you have to call 911

Do you know you are likely to dial 9-1-1 twice in your lifetime? It's true, and let's face it, it will probably be one of the most stressful days of your life!

Medical emergencies pop up at a moment's notice. That's why they're called emergencies, so it's important you're prepared when making that call.

At Allina Health Emergency Medical Services, our 911 center takes nearly 300 emergency calls every day. To help us "help you," we ask a series of questions to determine the type of emergency you are experiencing and where you're located.

A few of the questions include:

  • What's your address?
  • What is the phone number you are calling from?
  • Tell me exactly what happened.
  • If it's not you that needs help, who is the person and are you with them right now?
  • What is the person's age?
  • Is he/she conscious?
  • Is he/she breathing?

Once we begin care over the phone, our Emergency Medical Dispatcher works quickly to send an ambulance to your location. The Dispatcher will stay with you as long as needed, asking questions so our paramedics are prepared when they arrive.

To help our paramedics locate you quickly, turn on the lights outside your home and make sure you put your pets in another room. While most of our paramedics love animals, they need to move quickly and clearing distractions will help. Finally, if you or the other person has Advanced Directives, power of attorney or other legal documents, have these ready when help arrives.

Whether you're at home, or out in the neighborhood, Emergency Medical Dispatchers are ready to help. For us at Allina Health EMS, caring lies at the heart of everything we do. Caring for our patients, our community and each other.

So, if the day comes when you have to dial those three digits, being prepared will not only make the call less stressful, it will allow dispatchers to provide the exceptional care you or your loved one deserves.


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