Life in the USA
Using Emergency Services
Emergency services can be obtained by dialing “911” or “0” for the telephone operator. When a police, fire or medical emergency person arrives, follow their instructions and try not to panic.
Police services differ from area to area, but can roughly be divided into two parts: routine and emergency. A police emergency involves real danger to life or property: assault, murder, rape, armed robbery. In most parts of the country, dialing “911” will get police emergency help. More routine matters like break-ins and petty theft should not tie up important emergency numbers. Call the police precinct, the country sheriff, the state police or highway patrol at their number in the telephone book. Police departments have community outreach departments that inform the public about crime prevention programs.
Fire departments have procedures similar to police departments. Use 911 for real emergencies only. In some communities, fire departments are private; you must pay an annual fee for protection. In other communities firemen are volunteers who depend on voluntary financial support from the public. Some communities have paid fire service, where individual homeowners pay a certain amount a year for protection.
Medical emergency or paramedic services can be either municipal or volunteer. It pays to find out the reputation of the medical emergency squad in your area and learn their procedures.
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