June 17, 2024

Meigs Health Today: When to Call 911

By Angie Rosler, RN, Public Health Nurse

911 is an emergency management system that allows callers to obtain assistance and is most efficient way to dispatch police, fire or medical emergency response. Callers reach a 911 operator that is trained to identify the type of emergency. The operator then dispatches emergency response and will guide the caller to appropriate care/actions during the call.

Simply put, 911 calls are reserved for ONLY EMERGENT situations. When calls are received by nonemergent situations it occupies resources for those with emergency situations.

Angie Rosler RN

Nonemergent situations include (but not limited to) community questions, medication dosages, directions or hours to urgent care, or contact information for food pantries. Please see the Meigs County Health Department’s Quick Reference Guide at www.meigs-health.com or contact your primary care provider for guidance on receiving answers to these questions.

Nonemergent illness situations include (but are not limited to),gastrointestinal viruses, common cold, or other viral or bacterial infections. Please contact your primary care provider or seek an urgent care for guidance.

Emergent situations are when something happens that could be life threatening. Examples could include a fire, an intruder, or an automobile accident. Other potential emergent situations include (but are not limited to), shortness of breath, chest pains, signs of stroke, allergic reaction, major broken bones, or even complications from a nonemergent illnesses such as an allergic reaction to medications, severe dehydration or shortness of breath. These examples could potentially be life threatening and thus, emergency situations. 

COVID 19 Pandemic concerns in the community are understandable. Meigs County leaders are following the guidance of the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Governor DeWine. In addition to proper hygiene and healthy habits such as frequent handwashing, covering coughs, and hydration, officials are strongly urgingsocial isolation to limit the spread of the virus. At the time of this writing, schools, gyms/fitness centers, entertainment centers, bars and restaurant dining have been discontinued in response to the pandemic. Carryout restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, medical centers, and gas stations are currently remaining open for essential needs. Individuals are STRONGLY URGED to adhere to the social isolation guidance unless absolutely necessary. Meaning, if you feel you are in an EMERGENT situation (as described above) please seek medical care. If you should feel it necessary to visit your local emergency department, please call ahead (or call 911 if necessary) and they will guide you to proper protocol to protect others. Please follow the Meigs County Ohio Health Department Facebook page and website for updates as they becomeavailable.

The purpose of such an emergency system is clear: it givespriority to those in emergent situations to receive immediate assistance. Meigs County agencies work diligently to provide this system to  residents but urge community members to ONLY use 911 in the event of an EMERGENCY.