Saturday, October 26, 2013

What happens when YOU dial 911?

Many of us live where we live SPECIFICALLY to get away from people/noise/traffic/stress (fill in the blank).  But there's nothing like an emergency to make you instantly wish you lived right next door to the fire department/ambulance/emergency room....(you get the idea)...

We live in  Petersburgh, NY.  Pretty much right where New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts come together.  It's a wee little town with somewhere around 5,000 people and not a hell of a lot more.  We live 3 miles from the garage of the Petersburgh Volunteer Ambulance.  We live 14 miles from the garage of the Bennington Rescue Squad.  When the neighbor dialed 9-1-1, it took 18 minutes for the Rescue Squad, and 20 minutes for the Ambulance.  All of which seemed like an ETERNITY as I was huddled there on the lawn, cradling my husband and trying to keep him calm and warm.

If you don't know already, then it's time to figure out for yourself - how long does it take for help to arrive? 

Not only ambulance, but fire and police as well.

Who responds?  State police or locals?  Fire volunteers or municipal firefighters? Do you live near a hydrant, or will they use a pond?  Is your house # clearly displayed? If it is nighttime, do you have adequate lighting?  Do your personal cars block access to your property or house? 

In a former life, I trained social workers who do field work with the mentally ill, and I ran them through these same questions.  I stressed these points over and over, and still was caught off guard when it happened to me.

And here's the really important one:

What do you do while you are waiting?

Seriously.  Do you need a safe place to wait?  Do you have access to a phone?  Do you need to lock up, move cars, secure animals, gather anything? Are there kids that need to be comforted/ occupied/ supervised?

Run a drill, people...run a drill.  It will be the best 15 mental minutes ever used.  Stop for a minute and ask yourself: 

What happens when I dial 9-1-1?

7 comments:

Tombstone Livestock said...

Good points, having to make that call twice in last 15 years, had to lock up the dogs, go down the driveway and unlock the gate, fortunately neither time was life threating. I am 4 miles from seasonal fire station and 20 miles from ambulance services. It does take time for them to get here but at least it's all flat land and good straight roads.

Debbie said...

You've asked some very important questions and I wish I had better answers.
We also live in the middle of nowhere and when an emergency with my dad caused us to need an ambulance asap in the middle of the night, we went through the same thing. Luckily for us a neighbor heard our call on the police scanner and got over to lend a hand until help arrived. It does make you want to pack up and move next door to a hospital.

Kathy Ruback said...

The only thing "immediate" about dialing 911 is a trained telecommunicator on the other end. You are so right, Melanie, about the drill. And it's very true. The longest moments of anyone's life are the ones between the phone call and the arrival of help. Glad you and yours are recovering.

Spinners End Farm said...

Melanie, is he okay? Are you okay?? Warm thoughts to all...

Spinners End Farm said...

Sorry....I read the post prior to it afterwards! I'm so glad he is coming home. Don't worry about the mess! :)

melanie said...

Better for all of us to have this conversation now....than AFTER you've lived through one of "those" moments, eh?

tpals said...

We are surrounded by volunteer firefighter neighbors, but the ambulance is 8 miles away. 21 years after having to call for one, I still remember that horrible waiting.