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Steps to Take Before Emergencies Occur
clipboardIt’s understandable for a person to be flustered and forgetful during an emergency or other stressful time. Most people don’t take into consideration “emergency service” when building their homes, installing phone service, unexpected financial demands and so on. But there are things you can do right now to assist you and the responders if and when an event occurs and you will benefit from these preparations as well. The more organized and prepared you are before an emergency, the better the response.

checkIdentifying your home is vital for first responders. When responders are paged for an emergency in the middle of the night, in the driving-pouring rain or blizzard like conditions, visibility will be really poor. Post your house number near the front entrance of your home (by the front door and above the garage door for example). The numbers should be visible from the road and have adequate lighting. Ensuring your house numbers can be clearly seen from the road makes identifying your location effortless and….it saves time!!!

checkOften responders will use mailboxes to locate your home. If your mailbox is placed by the road, post large reflective house numbers on the front & sides of your mailbox. Doing so aids responders during the dark of night and when visibility is very poor due to bad weather conditions.

checkPlace a copy of your current list of medications, doctor’s info & contact person(s) on your refrigerator and by your telephone. When responders arrive, simply give them your list. When you aren’t feeling well, you may not remember what medicines you take, when you take them, and the dosage. Having a pre-made list and keeping the list current is easier on you and the responders, and….it saves time!!!

checkFollow the dispatcher’s instructions.
They are certified in emergency medical procedures and can provide vital instructions to you before the ambulance arrive.
checkPrevent any distractions for emergency responders. When responders arrive, they will want to provide you with the best quality care. If you have pets, secure your pets before help arrives. Make arrangements for pet care in the event you would need to be transported to the hospital.

checkFriends & family members with you on scene will be worried and may even be emotional. Responders need to focus on you, and sometimes emotional family members can be distracting which will take treatment time away from you. Ask for one person to stay with you and the others to go in a separate room while responders assess your situation.
checkKnow your location! If you are traveling, know the mile marker, what township or borough you are in, the name of the building etc. Know the address! If we can’t find you, we can’t help you!

checkBe aware of your surroundings. If you are a witness to a crime, details are essential when you call 911.  You will need to provide pertinent information. You will be asked a series of questions such as: Male or female? Are they tall or short, slender or heavy? What is the color of their hair? Are they wearing glasses? Do they have tattoos or birthmarks? What color clothes were they wearing? Are they in a car? What type of car (truck, van, car, tractor/trailer) What make of vehicle? Ford, Chevy, Dodge? Is it a newer vehicle or older, beat up vehicle? What direction were they headed? Is anyone injured? Are there weapons present? As much information you can provide is important.

checkTeach young children how to dial 911 and the appropriate use of 911. Prank calling 911 is punishable by law. If you dial 911 by accident, do not hang up!  Tell the dispatcher you dialed in error.

checkEnroll for a membership with your local ambulance service. In an emergency, the last thing you want to worry about is the bill. Most insurance plans do not cover the full cost of ambulance service. If you are enrolled in ambulance service membership, whatever your insurance pays is generally what your ambulance service will accept as payment in full for emergency -- even if your insurance only pays a portion of the bill or denies the claim! Contact your local ambulance service to learn the details of their memberships, and sign up today!

checkIf you have a lock box, entry code or if you are an elderly person living alone with serious medical issues, please take a moment to fill out the Residential Emergency Response Notification Form. The R.E.R.N. Form provides important information to assist emergency responders when entering or securing your home during an emergency. The information you provide on the form allows for access such as lock box or garage codes to be added to your address. This information will only be used between 911 and first responders. The RERN Form also pinpoints advanced health issues.

checkLanguage Barriers are among the many challenges first responders face every day. Centre county 911 and Debra Greenleaf of Centre County’s International Outreach Consultant collaborated on a tool known as the I SPEAK CARD. The purpose of the I Speak Card is to reduce language barriers between callers and first responders by referring to pre-identified facts written on the card, such as preferred language before locating an interpreter. Eliminating language barriers in 911 calls can save lives and save time. The I Speak Card is to be presented to first responders upon their arrival aiding everyone involved at the scene by determining the language immediately, and hopefully connect to an interpreter faster. The I Speak Card currently printed in Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and German languages, encompasses the English translation. We hope this card will enhance emergency services, and reduce hesitation often felt by people calling 911 when they have limited English.

I Speak Cards are available at these locations:  Women’s Resource Center at 140 W. Nittany Avenue; the Schlow Library at 211 S. Allen St; Mid State Literacy Council at 248 E. Calder Way, Global Connections located in the Boucke Building on Penn State Campus and in Bellefonte at the Willowbank Office Building reception area. 

checkFirefighters and some EMS agencies are volunteers – meaning they are non-paid responders. These agencies rely on the very community -- and its citizens they service -- for support!

Through their sponsored events, donations & fund raisers!