In an emergency such as a fire, minutes count. While one’s instinct might be to immediately try and help, calling 9-1-1 first usually proves to be the most effective action.
Oak Parkers who call 9-1-1 get more than just a dispatcher. The telecommunicators who answer the phones in the dispatch center Oak Park shares with Elmwood Park, Park Ridge and River Forest have been trained to help callers deal with a variety of police, fire and medical emergencies.
The dispatchers in the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center (WSCDC) are certified in CPR and have completed the Emergency Medical Dispatch protocols from the Priority Dispatch System, a program that teaches how to guide callers through basic medical procedures until paramedics arrive to take over.
When you dial 9-1-1, don’t be surprised that the dispatcher will do most of the talking. The questions they ask are critical to a proper emergency response. But don’t worry — even while questions are being asked, emergency personnel are already on their way.
Here’s some of the needed information:
- Where – the incident is occurring: address, intersection, or if unsure, the relationship to your location, inside or outside, front or rear, house or apartment building, in a vehicle or on the street.
- What – is happening. Be clear and concise. This information will determine how many emergency units are sent and the call priority.
- When – did this happen? Is it going on right now, did it happen within the last 10–15 minutes, or at an unknown time?
- Welfare/Weapons – is anyone hurt? Are there any weapons involved?
- Who – is involved and how many? Can you describe the suspects or vehicle?
For more information or to discuss how a call was handled, contact the executive director or supervisor of the WSCDC at 708.771.9110. More information on the center is posted at www.wscdc.org.