It’s something we don’t want to think about, but could become a reality when you least expect it. In the United States there are about 240 million calls placed to 9-1-1 for emergencies, yearly. But many parents admit they haven’t always known when they should call. When should you call 911?

When do you call 911?

As defined by the National Emergency Number Association, an emergency is any situation where a law enforcement officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical help is needed right away. Not sure if you are facing a true emergency? Then call anyway. The person who answers is trained to know when a situation requires a police officer, firefighter or ambulance. Better safe than sorry!

I recently found myself in this very situation. My 17 year old son fell and appeared to have broken his ankle. Since I wasn’t able to get him up and in to my car, I stood and argued to myself, “Do I call 911” “Do I not call 911”? I opted for the call and was glad I did. The rescue squad came to my house, assessed the situation and helped to put me at ease. They were able to mobilize his ankle and get him in to my car so I could take him to the emergency room.

It was my own choice to take him by myself, knowing this was not an emergency requiring medical transport. But it wasn’t until they arrived that I knew this for sure, making my 9-1-1 call something I will never regret. Fortunately, it was a sprain rather than a break, but the services I received from the EMT’s were invaluable.

You should always call 9-1-1 when the situation includes fire, anaphylaxis, chest pain, drug overdose, heat stroke, heart attacks and shortness of breath. If there is danger to your life, property or environment, make this important call.

Women often think they will be a “bother” to an emergency medical team and delay calling for an emergency. Even when they suffer from chest pain they often refuse to make the call. More than 233,000 women die from cardiovascular disease yearly. If you think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately!

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