What do I do if I need an Ambulance?

Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance for a medical emergency, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having serious bleeding, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Call takers and responders are available 24 hours a day/365 days a year. Don’t worry about calling too early or too late. Don’t worry about inconveniencing anyone, either. Calling 9-1-1 right away gets the response started. We can always turn back if we’re not needed. 
If you’re not sure, call! 

When not to call 9-1-1

 9-1-1 is for emergencies only.  Do not call 9-1-1:

  • To report a power outage
  • To check the time
  • To test your phone
  • For information
  • To ask a non-emergency Police/Fire/Medical Question

If you do call 9-1-1:

Stay calm.

Know the address and the phone number you are calling from.

Wait for the call-taker to ask questions, then answer clearly and calmly.

Let the call-taker guide the conversation. He or she is typing the information into a computer and it may seem to be taking forever. The emergency services are usually being sent while you are still on the line.

Follow all instructions. In some cases, the call-taker will give you medical first-aid instructions. Listen carefully and follow each step exactly. Ask for clarification if you don't understand.

Do not hang up the call until directed to do so by the call-taker


What do I say when I call 9-1-1?

Listen carefully to the 9-1-1 call-taker

They will ask:

What is the address of the emergency?

- Give your street address and city.

What’s the phone number you’re calling from?

- To call you back, if necessary.

Okay, tell me exactly what happened.

-What medical illness or injury caused you to call today?

Based on the nature of the medical emergency, they will need a few more questions that help the responders determine the best response.

Are you using a TTY/TDD?

9-1-1 can be called using these devices, designed the deaf and hard of hearing.


Are you Using a Cell Phone?

Unlike landline calls, cell phone calls are routed to the closest tower. The Federal Communications Commission has required that all wireless carriers be able to pinpoint your location for 9-1-1 dispatchers, but sometimes it’s difficult to get an exact location based upon the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) information provided by the cell phone.

The important thing to remember is to stay on the line and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. In addition to your street address, it’s very important to add the name of the town or city you’re calling from as well. Make sure you get the location as detailed as possible.  Also, be patient if you are asked some of the same questions twice.


Are you using a VoIP phone?

VoIP phones (Voice over IP) are internet based services like Vonage or Skype or may be offered through your cable company. While you initially provide a 9-1-1 address when you register for service, many of these may work with any internet connection and will function wherever you plug them in. Some users bring them when they travel and neglect to update the provider. When you call 9-1-1, the address sent to the call center is what the provider has on file and may be different than the location are calling from. Make sure that you give the address and city where the emergency is located.


Can I text 9-1-1?

Texting 9-1-1 has limited availability in Maine.  If you have a medical emergency, you should always dial 9-1-1 and speak to dispatcher, if possible. 


Personal Help Buttons

These are the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” buttons you’ve all seen on TV. They’re a great way to get help if you can’t talk or get to a phone due to a fall or injury. If you are not injured and can talk without getting short of breath between words, it’s usually better to call 9-1-1 directly.

In Maine, all 9-1-1 call takers are trained to start helping you right away and have direct contact with the ambulance crew responding to your emergency. They can immediately update them of any changes along the way. If there is someone else in the house who can safely make the call instead, that’s even better.


For more information about Maine’s 9-1-1 system, visit the Emergency Services Communications Bureau at www.maine911.com