What To Do in the Event of an Emergency

At any age, any of us can have an emergency. When we are upset, it is easy to make mistakes or forget what to do. By practicing and preparing for an emergency in advance, the chances are you will be safe in an actual emergency.

Calling 911:

Here in Santa Fe County we have the Enhanced 911 System. This technology helps the Regional Emergency Communication Center (RECC) get the ambulance, police or fire department to you quickly.

Every time you dial 9-1-1, your call is sent to a master data center where your name and address are linked to the call and is then sent to the dispatch center (RECC) which serves your home or work place. Your phone number, name and address show up on the Dispatcher's data terminal, allowing them to send the nearest emergency service.

In order for emergency services to provide you with the fastest and most appropriate service, your rural address information must be assigned by the County and then entered into the database. For more information on Rural Addressing you can call 505-995-2732.

What Should I do When I Call 911:

Here's what to do when you call 9-1-1 or another emergency number.

  • Speak as clearly and calmly as you can in a loud voice. Tell them:
    • Your problem ("There's a fire in my house." "I am having pain in my chest." "My wife has fainted and I can't wake her.")
    • Your name
    • Your physical address (It is a good idea to know your 911 rural addressing number, these are usually posted on red and white stickers at the entrance to your property. It is also a good idea to know land marks and road names "I live off of NM 502, turn on County Rd. 101D and turn left on County Rd 84, it is house number 123")
  • Stay on the phone. Do not hang up until the Dispatcher tells you to.
  • Follow any instructions from the Dispatcher. He/She may be able to give you advice or comfort you until help arrives.

Remember: If your emergency is a fire, gas leak, or intruder, leave the house before calling for help, if you can do that safely on your own.

Important Information:

In some emergencies you may not be able to speak for yourself. The E-911 System has the technology to find you even if you cannot speak.

It is a good idea to keep the following information near your phone and in your wallet or purse where emergency personnel can find it easily. There is also a program called the Vial-of-Life. This program provides you with a baggie or prescription bottle that you keep in the refrigerator or glove compartment, a sticker to put on your window or door, and a medical history information sheet. In the event you cannot speak for yourself emergency personnel would find this information and know what medications you may be taking, who your physician is, contact numbers for family, etc... Check with your pharmacy or physician to see if they have information on this program.

Information useful to emergency personnel:

  • The name, prescription number, and purpose of each of your medications
  • Any known allergies
  • Doctor's name and phone number
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) (if applicable)
  • Supplemental health insurance company and policy number
  • Your photo, if possible
  • Contact information for family members, friends, etc.. (it is good to include home and work numbers)

Phone Tips:

While a cordless phone is convenient to keep close to you, it is still a good idea to have at least one phone in the house that is the 'traditional plug-in phone'. If the electricity goes out, a cordless phone will not work. You can always plug in the 'traditional' phone if the electricity goes out.

Cell phones can also be useful in an emergency because they are so portable. However, if you use a cell phone, the emergency center may not be able to automatically know where you are. You will need to be able to tell the Dispatcher how to find you.

In Santa Fe County the Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC) has currently completed Phase I of an upgrade that gives the center the ability to see your cell phone number and give them the coordinates to the closest cell phone tower to your location. Phase II of this upgrade is expected to be complete by Summer 2006 and will give Dispatchers the coordinates of your exact location.

In Any Emergency Situation:

PLEASE REMEMBER: If it seems like an emergency to you, it probably is. Emergency personnel want to help you when you need them. IF YOU ARE IN TROUBLE, BE SAFE AND MAKE THE CALL.

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