1. If you need Law Enforcement, Fire or Ems in Tuscola County, call 9-1-1.
2. If you do call 9-1-1, even by mistake, do not hang up the phone. 9-1-1 call takers are trained to get the most important information as quickly as possible to get help on the way to an emergency situation. In an emergency situation, allow the call taker to ask you all the questions they need in order to get help there in the timeliest manner before you hang up or leave the phone. If you happen to call by accident, stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that you called by accident and there is no emergency. This saves the call taker from having to call you back and confirm there is no emergency or sending police with lights and sirens to check your address for an emergency.
3. When calling 9-1-1 do your best to stay calm and answer all questions. Staying calm can be one of the most difficult, yet most important, things you do when calling 9-1-1. It is very important that you stay as calm as possible and answer all the questions the 9-1-1 call taker asks. The questions 9-1-1 call takers ask, no matter how irrelevant they seem, are important in helping get the first responders to you as fast as possible.
4. Help the 9-1-1 call taker help you. Listen and answer the questions asked. By doing this, it helps the call taker understand your situation and will assist you with your emergency until the appropriate police, fire or medical units arrive.
5. Know the location of the emergency. The wireless 9-1-1 caller must be aware that the 9-1-1 center that answers the call may not be the 9-1-1 center that services the area that the wireless caller is calling from. Look for landmarks, cross street signs and buildings. Know the name of the city or county you are in. Knowing the location is vital to getting the appropriate police, fire or Ems units to respond. Providing an accurate address is critically important especially when making a wireless 9-1-1 call.
6. Teach your children how to call 9-1-1. Be sure they know what 9-1-1 is, how to dial from your home and cell phone, and to trust the 9-1-1 call taker. Make sure your child is physically able to reach at least one phone in your home. When calling 9-1-1 your child needs to know their name, parents' name, telephone number, and most importantly their address. Tell them to answer all the call takers questions and to stay on the phone until instructed to hang up.
7. Prank calls to 9-1-1 wastes time and is illegal. Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 9-1-1 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.
8. Post your address clearly and prominently at your entrance and on your home. Posting your 9-1-1 address at the driveway entrance and on your home will alleviate any confusion as to whether emergency responders have the correct location. Try using something reflective or illuminated so that it can be seen in the evening as well as during the day. Do not assume since your mailbox is marked you have posted your address- mailboxes are not always at the entrance of a driveway and usually are not marked clearly on both sides. Please report missing street signs when noted- these not only help others find your home but are essential to emergency response personnel.
9. Know the phones you own. Educate everyone about the phone system in your home as well as your cell phone. Children may need to use the devices in an emergency and will need to know how to operate them.
10. If you have a VOIP based telephone, such as vonage, please visit www.911voip.org and review the faq and 9-1-1 tips tab for information on how 9-1-1 works with this technology.