Community Resilience: Providing the Framework to Prevent Non-Emergency 911 Calls
By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Among the most important creations of a civilized society are the mechanisms for the public to receive assistance in an emergency. National 911 telephone services were set up for just that purpose because most towns and cities have law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services to assist in such emergencies.
Many first responders realize that 911 is often used as a catch-all service instead of as a life-saving tool. Striking the balance of when to use or not use 911 involves community resilience, as towns and cities develop plans that create more flexibility in how available resources are used in the wake of disaster events.
Keeping this concept in mind, community resilience needs to maintain a proper balance between true 911 emergencies and a system that keeps non-emergencies out of 911 call centers. To help maintain this balance, residents can support community resilience through preventative measures such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and medical training.
Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Arguably, the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two important inventions that have saved millions of lives. When there are home fire or asphyxiation fatalities, it’s often because residents did not have a working smoke or carbon monoxide detector. The National Fire Protection Association posted statistics providing information on smoke detectors and fire fatalities.
When these home alarms sound, they alert both residents and neighbors who can dial 911 and get the appropriate resources to the scene to prevent the emergency from growing out of control.
Across the country, there are numerous regulations that require residential buildings to have properly operating smoke detectors. But sometimes a community needs more than smoke detector legislation to prevent fires. Organizations like the American Red Cross work to assist local communities install smoke detectors in private homes.
There have been a number of horrific active shooter incidents in the past few years. Police, fire and emergency medical services work hard to respond to these incidents quickly because rapid medical care is essential for the injured.
Understanding this need, the Stop the Bleed Campaign is teaching the public how to handle heavy bleeding while waiting for paramedics to arrive on scene – a procedure that saves lives. The campaign simply adds a dimension of community resilience for citizens to prevent the loss of life while they await emergency responders.
Individuals who call 911 for non-emergency situations make it difficult for police, fire and EMT personnel to manage actual emergencies effectively. The creation of policies to prevent individuals from dialing 911 for non-emergencies has helped. But towns and cities need more community resilience efforts to keep non-emergencies out of 911 response centers.