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What to do when confronted with an emergency

What to do in the event of an emergency.

When immigrants start their jobs, they may find that their days and weeks will become pretty routine. They'll wake up in the morning, head to work so they can wire money to their loved ones, then head back to their apartments so they can relax and get ready for the next day. However, occasionally, immigrants may find themselves in situations that stray from the norm, as they may be called upon to help someone who needs medical attention.

To help immigrants understand how they should respond to these emergency situations, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services offers a few recommendations.

In the U.S., when residents encounter a problem that medical professionals should know about, they should call a telephone number: 911. While the situations vary, this number should be called to report a fire, a crime that's in progress or any suspicious activities that may be life-threatening.

Once the number is dialed, USCIS says the person on the other end of the line should answer the phone within seconds.

Typically, the first words they say will be "This is 911. What's your emergency?" It's at this time that immigrants should provide as much detailed information as possible about what the nature of the problem is, which includes what was seen or heard and where the incident took place. If immigrants have a difficult time speaking English, they should tell the operator what their native language is. An officer who speaks the immigrant's language should then come to the phone, according to USCIS.

Because the nature of the problem may be serious, it's natural to be shaken up when detailing the situation. USCIS says 911 operators are highly-trained officers and should be able to help them calm down. Immigrants should be sure to stay on the line with the operator until all their questions about the situation have been addressed.

While 911 is a convenient service that can help U.S. residents get help quickly, it's not a number that should be dialed for anything other than life-threatening situations. For example, USCIS says 911 is not to be used to obtain driving directions, to ask information about public services, or to talk about anything that does not require immediate action.

By adhering to these general rules for emergencies, immigrants may wind up saving someone's life.

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