Being involved in a major car accident can be a scary and stressful experience. Calling 911 is the first thing you should do after a serious crash to get emergency help on the scene. When you call 911 in Tennessee after a major accident, there are some key pieces of information you should be prepared to provide the dispatcher.
What to Say When You Call 911
The 911 dispatcher will ask you some questions when you call, but being ready with crucial details can help expedite the emergency response. Here are some tips for what information to have ready:
Location of the Accident
The dispatcher will first want to know the exact location of the crash. Provide the street names, closest intersections, highway and mile marker, or any other landmarks that can pinpoint where emergency crews need to respond. Having the precise accident location is vital for getting help on site quickly.
Number of Vehicles Involved
Tell the dispatcher how many vehicles were part of the accident. They will send the appropriate number of ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars based on this information. Be ready to specify how many cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other vehicles were involved in the collision.
Injuries and Trapped Occupants
Describe any injuries to drivers or passengers and whether anyone is trapped in the wrecked vehicles. Are there any life-threatening injuries that require immediate medical care? Make note of people who are unconscious, bleeding heavily, or have major damage to their bodies. Trapped victims require specialized equipment to free them safely, so alert the dispatcher if people are unable to get out of damaged cars or trucks.
Inform the 911 operator about any hazardous conditions emergency personnel need to be aware of when arriving at the scene. This includes spilled chemicals, downed power lines, leaking fuel, or fires. Providing these details allows first responders to take proper precautions when approaching the accident site.
Other Safety Concerns
Mention any other potential safety issues for emergency crews. Is the accident site near steep cliffs or embankments? Are cars blocking all lanes of a busy highway? Alerting 911 to safety risks helps EMTs, the police, and fire departments to prepare for how to access and work around the scene.
Your Contact Information
Give your name and a callback phone number so 911 can reach you if they need any additional details about the accident before arriving. It’s also helpful to stay on the line until emergency crews get on site in case the dispatcher has further questions.
What Not to Do When Calling 911 After an Accident
Just as important as what to do, there are a few things you should avoid when contacting 911:
- Don’t speculate about injuries or hazards – only provide details you know for certain.
- Don’t determine fault or speculate why the accident occurred.
- Don’t end the call until the dispatcher says it is okay.
- Don’t allow emotions or panic to prevent you from clearly communicating details.
Following these tips can optimize the 911 call after a major accident by giving responders the most critical information right away. Remaining as calm as possible and being prepared with important details can help save lives.
Waiting for the 911 Response
After you hang up with the 911 dispatcher, there are some recommended steps to take while waiting for emergency crews:
- Move vehicles out of traffic if it is safe to prevent additional collisions. Turn on hazard lights.
- Check on the condition of accident victims, but do not move injured people unless there is immediate danger.
- Administer first aid if you have proper training and credentials to do so.
- Place cones or triangles around the scene to alert oncoming traffic.
- Gather IDs, insurance, and contact information from the involved parties if possible.
- Take photos of the accident scene from multiple angles if able to.
- Remain at the scene until police and medical personnel arrive.
These actions can boost safety and provide helpful information later when reporting the accident. Do not compromise your own safety in order to take any of these steps, however.
Dealing with the Aftermath
In the hours and days following a major auto accident, you may need to complete some additional tasks like contacting an attorney for advice or representation if injuries or vehicle damage were significant. They can help you navigate legal, medical, and insurance issues.
Calling 911 is just the start of dealing with a serious auto accident in Tennessee. Taking the appropriate actions afterward can make the claims, recovery, and legal processes go much more smoothly.
Have you been involved in a major car accident? If so, contact us at Monge and Associates. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states, including Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 and advice.