What WFPS Communications Operators want you know when calling 9-1-1

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is April 14-20, 2024

“We think about them after the call and wonder what happened,” said Coralee, a Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) 9-1-1 Communications Operator, who takes 9-1-1 calls and dispatches crews to emergencies. “We care about them.”

WFPS call takers want you to know that when you call 9-1-1, they are there for you and trained to get you the help you need as quickly as possible.

“We understand that you’re going through a stressful time, but we’re here for you and we’re in it together,” said Dani, a WFPS 9-1-1 Communications Operator.

“We have a series of questions designed in a way to best triage the call so we get appropriate resources to the scene,” said Anthony, a WFPS 9-1-1 Communications Operator. “Help is on the way as soon as we have enough information to determine what resources are needed for the call.”

“Our staff are experts at helping people in the quickest possible way,” said Stacey Cann, Director of the WFPS 9-1-1 Communications Centre.

“The best way for people to get the help they need is to listen to the call taker, answer all their questions, and follow their instructions as best as they can,” Cann said. “As FIRST, first responders, our call takers can make sure you get help as quickly as possible.”

All WFPS Communications Operators who take 9-1-1 calls have an Emergency Medical Responder License through the College of Paramedics Manitoba. While crews are on route to an emergency, they can help over the phone.

“Some of the things we can provide are pre-arrival instructions, such as CPR. If someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, we can help you administer epinephrine, aspirin, or stroke diagnostics,” said Michael, a WFPS 9-1-1 Communications Operator. “We want to do our part to help people along the way to make that easier and to help people through that emergency time.”

If you are experiencing an emergency and need to call 9-1-1, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Know the location of the emergency. Let us know the address, intersection, landmarks, or place name. This is the most important piece of information needed when someone calls 9-1-1.
  • Remain calm and answer all questions asked by the 9-1-1 call taker, including your phone number. This allows the 9-1-1 call taker to call you back if the call becomes disconnected.
  • On very rare occasions, you may get a recorded message when dialing the 9-1-1. Do not hang up. Your call will be answered as soon as a 9-1-1 call taker is available.
  • Always remain on the line until the 9-1-1 call taker tells you to disconnect. This is to help make sure the right resources are sent. They may also give you instructions to follow before responders arrive.  
  • If you dial 9-1-1 by accident, do not hang up. If you hang up, a ring-back will occur and this ties up emergency services. Stay on the line and let the 9-1-1 call taker that you dialed by accident, and answer any questions they may have.
  • Do not let children play with deactivated cell phones. Deactivated cell phones can still dial 9-1-1.

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