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Baltimore County Now

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Title: How to Help First Responders Help You

911 Center logoCaptain Bruce Schultz
Baltimore County Office of the Fire Marshal

When police, fire or medical emergencies occur, the single most critical link in the chain of survival is the citizen who calls 911 to report the situation and provide details.

Once a call comes into the 911 Center, a call taker answers the phone and begins to collect pertinent information about the location of the incident, type of emergency and phone numbers. They also can provide essential instructions to the caller about how to assist until the arrival of the police and/or fire department responders.

Once call takers determine which agency --  or both --  is needed, the call is routed to the police and/or fire dispatchers who assign the closest appropriate units and get them started towards the address of the emergency. While emergency responders are en-route, the 911 Center call taker will continue to gather additional information which provides responders with a better idea of the location and exactly what is happening.

 Citizens can help responding units in a number of ways:

·        In areas where long or common driveways exist, or in an apartment or office building, have someone meet the emergency units at the entrance and direct them into the exact location where help is needed.

·        In recreational areas or shopping centers, take note of the building or store name and helpful landmarks. This can save precious minutes.

·        Try your best to keep calm and provide as much specific information as you can about the location and the type of emergency you are reporting.

·        If possible, have someone ready to meet and update the responders. The quicker responders can gauge the situation, the sooner the proper interventions can begin.

·        Before an emergency occurs, make sure that your house or building has visible street numbers that are easy to read, even at night. The Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code requires residential numbers to be at least three inches in size. Commercial buildings must be marked with six- inch numbers.

These are some of the most important ways you can help us help you!


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