Big Bear City, CA, April 1, 2011, noon – The Big Bear City Fire Department would like to help people of all ages recognize the importance of 9-1-1 and the role they play in ensuring effective and efficient emergency response in times of crisis. Groups including the United States Congress and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), a leading public safety association, have recognized April as National 9-1-1 Education Month, and they’re encouraging the media, the 9-1-1 community, the wireless industry, and public information providers to engage in 9-1-1 awareness and education activities this month. An informed caller is 9-1-1’s best caller. Here’s what you can do: Know WHEN to call 9-1-1. For emergencies only. Dial 9-1-1 if someone is hurt or in danger, or if you are in immediate need of police, fire, or medical assistance. Know WHEN NOT to call 9-1-1. Inappropriate use of the 9-1-1 system wastes resources and ties up the lines at the 9-1-1 center. Know WHERE you are. This is the most important information you can provide; be aware of your surroundings. Be as detailed as possible. Look for landmarks and cross streets. Stay CALM and never hang-up. Try not to panic. If you are crying or yelling, it can be hard for 9-1-1 operators to understand you. 9-1-1 dispatchers can send responders to your location without disconnecting from the call, so stay on the line until told to disconnect. It’s important that you know how to help 9-1-1 help you. In an emergency, seconds matter, so being knowledgeable and prepared can make all the difference.