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How do you call for help?

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Accidents and emergencies happen, and everyone wants to be as prepared as possible.  The Schriever Air Force Base residents have emergency response forces available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.  This includes emergencies inside and outside the restricted area, in base housing and even in the local community if needed.  When the time comes you need emergency help, what do you do? 

The simple answer?  Dial 9-1-1. The use of the 9-1-1 system began almost half a century ago.  In November 1967, the Federal Communications Commission met with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (now known as AT&T) to find a means of establishing a universal emergency number that could be implemented quickly. In 1968, AT&T announced it would establish the digits 9-1-1 as the emergency code throughout the United States. 

The code 9-1-1 was chosen because it best fit the needs of all parties involved. First, and most important, it met public requirements because it is brief, easily remembered, and can be dialed quickly. Second, because it is a unique number, never having been authorized as an office code, area code or service code, it best met the long range numbering plans and switching configurations of the telephone industry.  Congress backed AT&T's proposal and passed legislation allowing use of only the numbers 9-1-1 when creating a single emergency calling service, thereby making 9-1-1 a standard emergency number nationwide.

Dialing 9-1-1 is an important step in any emergency situation, and starts a chain of events that ensures the right help arrives as fast as possible.  There are many things that happen behind the scenes once you decide to make that phone call. 

If you are in any building on Schriever AFB, your 9-1-1 call will be routed directly to the Schriever Emergency Communications Center.  A dispatcher will take the call and determine appropriate response forces for your particular need or emergency.  If you need help on or near Schriever and dial 9-1-1 from a cell phone, it will be directed to the Colorado Springs Dispatch Center.  When that occurs, just tell them you are on Schriever AFB, and they will take all necessary information to route your call as needed (this all happens in a matter of a few seconds).  If you dial 567-3911 from a cell phone, that puts you straight through to the Schriever ECC.

All the fire dispatchers on Schriever are nationally trained emergency dispatchers.  They will ask you a series of questions to determine what help to send and make notifications to other agencies that may be able to help.  They can even provide assistance over the phone, providing first aid measures for medical emergencies, or reassurances that help is on the way. 

There are other avenues that people take to reach out for emergency help, but none of those are as effective and complete as dialing 9-1-1.  All the calls into the ECC are recorded, and can be helpful in any investigations that may occur.  Dialing 9-1-1 also gets all the responders together on the same page at the same time, providing the most direct access to any type of emergency.  Instead of calling each individual agency on a separate telephone number, dialing 9-1-1 rings through to all the emergency responders simultaneously and the help you may need will respond much faster.  Every response that Schriever AFB Fire Department responds to is logged into a national database and available for review by investigators or researchers.      

If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the dispatcher what happened so they know there really isn't an emergency.  Otherwise, the dispatcher has capabilities available to track your location, and they will send fire and/or security to the call location to investigate, just in case there is an emergency in which the caller cannot talk due to some medical or other unknown condition. 

Finally, there is one critical step everyone can take when they decide to call 9-1-1; stay on the line until the dispatcher advises that you can hang-up.  This is more crucial than you realize.  It allows the dispatcher to ask follow-up questions and get any vital information to relay to responders that are on their way.  The more information you can provide, the more prepared those responding forces will be to provide the right help at the right time.
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