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How Do I Prepare for the Season?


Know What To Do When Extreme Heat Hits

  • Find air conditioning or go to a cooling center.
  • Avoid strenuous activity or direct sunlight.
  • Wear light, loose clothing.
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Check on family members and neighbors.
  • NEVER leave people or pets in a car (even at 80 degrees, a car overheats in 10 minutes).  
  • Watch for signs of a heat-related illness, especially in these groups: Adults over 65. Children under 4. People with existing medical conditions.People who are overweight. Low-income populations. People who work outside. 

Check Out These Heat Resources

  • Cooling Centers:
  • Heat Safety Tool App: Download this OSHA tool to calculate heat index and risk level for workers. 
  • NWS Heat Alert definitions and safety resources
  • Wisconsin Extreme Heat Toolkit: info for local governments, health departments and citizens regarding preparation and response to extreme heat events. 
  • Prep your house for the heat: cover windows with shades or drapes, weather-strip doors and windows, use window reflectors (aluminum foil) to reflect heat back outside, add insulation to keep heat out, use fans or window air conditioners. 

Know the Signs of Heat Illness and Take Action


How Do I Make a 911 Call?     

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  What happens when you call 911?

Many 911 call centers follow protocols that guide callers through a sequence of questions to quickly obtain information necessary for dispatching the right responders to the right location. Call-takers may also provide instructions about what to do until help arrives. Follow these instructions and do not hang-up until instructed to do so. Questions may include:

  • Address of emergency
  • Phone number you are calling from
  • Nature of emergency
  • Details about emergency: description of people, hazard, sypmtoms/injuries involved. 
  Can I text 911 for emergency assistance?

Yes you can. Milwaukee County's Text-to-911 program allows people to text 911 for emergency service if they are unable to make a voice call. Text-to-911 is recommended ONLY when a voice call is not possible. Learn more.


  What should I do if I accidentally dial 911?

If you dial 911 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 911 when no emergency exists, DO NOT HANG UP – that could make 911 officials think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.


  Can I dial 911 from a wireless phone without a wireless calling plan?

All wireless phones, even those that are not subscribed to or supported by a specific carrier, can be used to dial 911. However, these uninitialized phones are often used to place malicious or fake calls to 911 call centers. These calls are a burden on the 911 system because they require the answering center to confirm whether or not an emergency truly exists. Oftentimes, parents provide these uninitialized wireless phones as toys to young children, unaware that if the child dials 911, a live call will be connected with the local 911 call center.

  How can I prevent my child from accidentally dialing 911?

Teaching children appropriate uses of the 911 system is as important as teaching them how to place a 911 call. For more information, visit 911 for Kids. Parents should also be aware that wireless phones without a current calling plan through a wireless provider are still capable of connecting a call to a local 911 center. Children should be told not to dial 911 from these old or uninitialized phones.

  How do I know local 911 has the correct address for my home/business?

When calling 911, it is important to know your location and be able to provide 911 with the correct address and closest cross streets or landmarks. If you would like to contact your local 911 call center to confirm the address that correlates with your phone number is correct, do not dial 911. Rather, contact your local public safety answering point (PSAP) or call center through its non-emergency, 10-digit phone number. Explain that you do not have an emergency but would like to request the local 911 call center’s non-emergency 10-digit number. 

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  How can I reach 911 in a different state, county or city?

With a few exceptions, 911 calls cannot be transferred to other jurisdictions except between call centers within a county and between adjacent counties. The best option to obtain emergency assistance in a different state, county or city is to dial the 10-digit phone number for law enforcement in the community where assistance is needed. For corporations interested in providing emergency assistance support to clients nationwide, a list of 911 call center 10-digit emergency phone numbers can be obtained by contacting the National Emergency Number Association. 

  How can I register my Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone for 911?

VoIP service allows users to place and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers using an internet connection and can be used in place of traditional phone service. Because VoIP phones can be used anywhere an internet connection is available, the 911 call center cannot locate callers unless the VoIP device is registered to a physical address through the VoIP provider. Anytime the VoIP phone is moved from one location to another, the owner should contact the provider to update the new physical location of the device. Learn more about VoIP devices from the FCC.

  What are 911 apps?

A number of private companies have developed and sell a variety of smartphone computer applications intended to supplement the use of 911. Because 911 system capabilities vary across the United States, it is important that application developers have confirmed that their company/organization has the legal authority to contact 911 on a caller’s behalf. If you have any questions regarding the use of a particular app with the call center in your community, please contact the application provider directly to ask questions about legal authority or the use of their application by a specific 911 call center.

  Who manages 911 call centers?

911 professionals are employed by a variety of local and state agencies, including law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency management agencies and Information Technology (IT) services, either as sworn or civilian personnel.

  Are 911 call takers certified?

Some 911 professionals are certified as emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs), emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) or emergency police dispatchers (EPDs), which means they have received additional specialized training to assist callers in all types of emergencies. Managers and supervisors may also be certified as emergency number professionals, or ENPs, demonstrating that they have mastered the comprehensive knowledge base necessary to manage an emergency number program.

  Why are 911 fees included on my landline or wireless bill?

Local governments pass laws that allow them to collect 911 fees through your local telephone service or wireless provider. The fees collected are distributed to help pay for emergency communication and response services in your area. Enhanced 911 (E911), which enables a wireless device to transmit its phone number and geographic location to the 911 call center, is an example of how wireless services have upgraded their delivery of 911 calls over time. According to the FCC, some wireless service providers may choose to pass their costs of providing E911 service on to their customers and this charge may also be described as an E911 charge on your wireless telephone bill. 

(Thanks to the National 911 Program, which is housed within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Emergency Medical Services.)


How Do I Make an Emergency Kit?

  • Water: One gallon per person for at least three days
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishables and can opener
  • Battery powered/hand-crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit, medical records and prescriptions
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask and duct tape to shelter in-place
  • Moist towlettes, garbage bags, plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Local maps

Download the Checklist


How Do I Create a Family Emergency Plan?     

During a disaster, communciation networks could be disrupted, leaving you out of touch with your loved ones. Planning in advance ensures that everyone in your household knows how to reach each other and where to meet during an emergency. Start with these steps:

  1. Collect: Create a paper copy of contact info for your family and important locations (office, school, medical facility).
  2. Share: Make sure everyone carries a copy on them. Print a wallet-sized card below.
  3. Practice: Hold regular household meetings to review and practice the plan.

Print Wallet-sized Card


How Do I Prepare as an Individual With Access or Functional Needs?     

People with access and functional needs should approach disaster planning the same as the rest of us. But there are additional preparedness steps that need consideration. 

Extra Emergency Kit Items, Depending on Your Needs
  • Hearing needs: Weather radio with text display and flashing alert, extra hearing aid batteries, a TTY, pen and paper (communications option without interpreter)
  • Seeing needs: Mark emergency supplies with braille labels. Keep braille or deaf-blind communications device in kit
  • Mobility needs: Lightweight, manual backup wheelchair. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair. Can it collapse? Extra cane or walker
Emergency Planning:
  • Create a support network
  • Plan multiple transportation options for evacuation
  • Tell someone else the location of home emergency supplies. Give them an extra key
  • Know the contact details of multiple dialysis centers in the area
  • Have extra, necessary medical equipment in-house
  • Wear a medical alert tag or bracelet
  • Plan how you will evacuate with assistive devices. Keep the model information and insurance information from equipment

Learn More


How Do I Care for My Pet During a Disaster?


Pet Emergency Plan
  • Know which hotels, friends/relatives, animal shelters on your evacuation route will take your pet. Call ahead if you know you must evacuate (most Red Cross sheltes don't accept pets)
  • Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they get used to entering and traveling in carriers calmly
  • Make sure pet vaccinations are current and that collar tags are fastened and up-to-date
  • Consider microchipping your pet

Download the Pet First-Aid
Android App

Pet Emergency Kit
  • Leash
  • Food, drinking water, bowls
  • Vet contact information
  • Medications, medical record copies in waterproof container
  • First aid kit
  • Pet bed
  • Toys

Download the Pet First-Aid
Apple App


How Do I Decide to Stay or Go?

If you find yourself in a situation where you must choose to evacuate or shelter in place:

  • Follow the directions and instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is a mandatory evacuation order, DO NOT STAY. To do so is to put yourself and others in danger.
  • If local authorities say the air is contaminated or you see debris in the air, shelter in place.
  • Without word from officials, use common sense and available information to assess situation.
  • Follow news coverage, listen to a weather radio and check your emergency alerts.
  • If necesary, find a mass-care shelter: text SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). Ex: SHELTER 53203 (standard rates apply).
If You Must Shelter in Place:
  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off air systems and fans.
  • Grab emergency supply kit or anything you may need (unless you think it's contaminated).
  • Go into an interior room with no (or few) windows.
  • Seal doors, windows, air vents with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  • Cut the sheeting wider than the openings. Duct tape plasitc at each corner first, then tape edges.
  • Stay informed! Watch TV, listen to the radio and emergency alerts. Do not leave until official word that it is safe to do so.

How Do I Understand the Flood Risk in my Community?    

To view a full-screen version of the map or to launch the map on mobile, click here.


How Do I Protect Myself Online?     

  • Only connect to the Internet over secure, password-protected networks
  • Make sure the software on all of your systems is up to date
  • Do not click on links or pop-ups, open attachments, or respond to emails from strangers
  • Always enter a URL by hand instead of following links if you are unsure of the sender
  • Do not respond to online requests for personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Limit who you are sharing information with by reviewing the privacy settings on your social media accounts
  • Trust your gut; if you think an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is
  • Password protect all devices that connect to the Internet and user accounts
  • Do not use the same password twice; choose a password that means something to you and you only; change your passwords on a regular basis
  • If you see something suspicious, report it to the proper authorities
  • Familiarize yourself with the types of threats and protective measures you can take


How Do I Perform CPR?     

In Milwaukee County, more than 1,000 people experience cardiac arrest each year. Early intervention, such as administering CPR or using an AED machine, has been shown to improve the likelihood of surviving cardiac arrest.

Immediate action is critical when a cardiac arrest occurs. Watch the video below to learn the basics of providing lifesaving support. If you would like to become certified in CPR, contact your local fire department or check out American Heart Association's training resources.


Before CPR
  1. Make sure the scene is safe. Tap person on shoulder and shout "Are you ok?" to ensure person needs help
  2. Call 911 for assistance. Then send anyone nearby someone to get an AED
  3. Check for breathing. Listen carefully for 10 seconds (occasional gasps do not count). If no regular breathing, begin CPR
CPR Steps
  1. Place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the chest
  2. Use your body weight to adminster compressions that are at least 2 inches deep. Push hard and fast
  3. Continue to repeat CPR steps. Keep performing cycles of chest compressions and breathing until person exhibits signs of life (breathing), an AED becomes available, or a trained medical responder arrives on scene


633 W. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 700 
Milwaukee, WI 53203 

821 W. State St., Room 305
Milwaukee, WI 53233

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