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Clayton County Fire Department answers questions

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This is the first installment of a new monthly feature from the Clayton County Fire Department. A different topic will be addressed the second Thursday of each month.

What happens when you request emergency medical services through 911?

911 should only be used when a true fire or medical emergency exists "Fire" or "Medical." Identify your call as a "Fire" or "Medical" emergency. In many areas the dispatcher will electronically receive the address and telephone number of the caller. However, if you are not sure if the emergency system has captured that information, tell the dispatcher your address and phone number.

Critical information the dispatcher needs to know:

What is the emergency? What is wrong?

Where is the emergency? Give the address; include building number, apartment number, nearest cross street. The name of the building is also helpful.

Who needs help? What is the age of the person? How many people need help?

Are they conscious?

Are they breathing?

Remain calm and give direct answers to the questions asked. Speak slowly and clearly. You will be asked additional questions so the dispatcher can send the right type of help. All questions are important.

The dispatcher may also provide you with critical pre-arrival instructions such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Understanding what happens when a 911 call is placed will help the system run more efficiently and will bring you the emergency medical service that you need in the shortest possible time.

How you can help before the Fire Department arrives:

Assure the patient that help is on the way.

Keep the phone line clear after the 911 call is made

Direct someone to wait out front to meet the ambulance and lead the way.

Wave a flashlight or turn on the porch light if it is dark or visibility is poor.

Consider having an interpreter if the patient does not speak English

Secure pets, especially dogs, in a separate area.

Have a visible address, easily readable from the street.

Gather or make a list of medications that the patient is using and give to emergency personnel. Have an open path in yard and home.

Get to know the Clayton County Fire Department

Did you know that the Clayton County Fire Department has 12 stations manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by over 90 personnel each shift? At any time day or night there are 12 fire trucks, one 100-foot ladder truck, eight ambulances, one heavy rescue unit, one airlight unit and four command vehicles available to answer the 911 calls for the citizens of Clayton County.

For more information call Amy Nix at the Clayton County Fire Department at (770) 473-7833.