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Jul 13, 2024

When to Call for an Emergency
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By Commissioner Steven Freeman
July 8, 2024

The Woodbridge Township Police, EMS and Fire Dispatch Center receives many phone calls regarding issues that have arisen at a citizen’s home - from a constantly beeping carbon monoxide detector to a funny smell in the kitchen or garage. Each time each time the resident states they were not sure whether or not they should call 911 as they did not want to be a bother.

First and foremost, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s what we do! Rest assured you will never “be a bother” as we prefer you to call! If you are not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, officials recommend calling 911 and letting the dispatcher determine whether you need emergency help. Please remember, you are not alone and there is a trained and certified individual who will help you through the process.

An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the Fire Department, Police Department or ambulance. Some examples include:
• Fire
• Crime, especially if in progress
• Car crash, especially if someone is injured
• Medical emergencies, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

It is important when you call 911 to be prepared to answer the dispatcher’s questions. Some questions may include:
• The location of the emergency, including the street address and a possible landmark
• The phone number you are calling from, in case you get disconnected during the call
• The nature of the emergency
• Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency.

Answers to these questions are important to get the right kind of help quickly. Try to stay as calm as possible. Listen to the questions and answer them as best as you can. Be prepared to follow any instructions as many 911 centers can tell you exactly what to do in an emergency until help arrives. They can instruct you in CPR and how to aid someone who is choking.

If you dial 911 by mistake, or if a child dials 911 when no emergency exists, do not hang up. This will make 911 officials think there is an emergency and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain what happened as they understand.

We hope this information clears up many common misconceptions regarding 911. They are there to help assist and guide you through anything situation. Firefighters would rather visit you for a minor issue than for a major house fire.

Attachment When to Call 911.pdf  (582k)

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Iselin Fire Department
20 Auth Ave
Iselin, NJ 08830

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