Emergency services provide medical, firefighting, and disaster relief. Emergency services departments are also responsible for fire prevention, rescue services, accident response, earthquake relief, as well as flood and drought relief. Emergency services workers are also responsible for preparedness planning and training for future disasters. First response teams are responsible for public safety and hostage rescue services in some situations. Police and sheriff's departments play an essential role in emergency services since they are the only group that assists in every type of emergency. Most communities have emergency response teams, and all states maintain their own disaster response personnel. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have the lead role in coordinating the response to major disasters.
How do I know if I should evacuate or seek shelter in an emergency?
It's important to follow instructions from your local emergency departments during any disaster. If you're told to evacuate an area or to shelter in place, you should do so immediately.
How do I know if I should call 9-1-1 or another emergency service provider?
If you see anything which presents a danger, such as a fire, crime in progress, vehicle accident, or unsafe infrastructure, you should immediately call 9-1-1 emergency services for help, and describe the situation to the emergency operator in detail.