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Fire-Rescue Department

What to Do When Calling 9-1-1

When you get on the phone with a City of San Diego 9-1-1 Dispatcher, it is important to remember these things to get help to your emergency as quickly as possible:

  • Remain Calm.
  • Be prepared to give the correct address of your emergency and the phone number from which you are calling.
  • Stay on the phone with the dispatcher. Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to hang up. Keep in mind that help is being sent simultaneously as the dispatcher takes your information.
  • If you are in a secured area, be sure to let the dispatcher know the fastest way for emergency vehicles to gain access. For instance, give the dispatcher a gate code if one is needed.

The dispatcher is going to ask you several questions about the condition of the patient requiring 9-1-1 services. It is best if the person calling 9-1-1 is near the patient to answer these questions. The dispatcher may also be giving the caller first-aid or CPR instructions as needed until the rescuers arrive.

Some of the questions the /fire/medical dispatcher may ask are:

  • What is the address/location/cross street?
  • What is burning, exactly?
  • Do you have visible smoke or flame?
  • How old is the patient?
  • Is the patient conscious?
  • Is the patient able to talk to you?
  • What is the patient's medical history?

Download our free brochure "Help 911 Help You" in English and Español