When to Call 911

Lessons learned from 9/11. Staying calm in a crisis means knowing what you can and cannot do. That starts with knowing when to call for 911.

When to call 911

I directed a mental health Mobile Community Support Team in the Bronx before, during and after 9/11. I saw smoke pouring out of the tower on my way to work that day. The Bronx was just far enough away from downtown that we could function. We had  no television or radio reception, no computers, and at first only a hazy idea of what was happening, but via phone calls realized all too soon what was happening.

Once we knew it was an attack, the staff with children home were sent home; the rest of us stayed on to do what we could. Which was not much that day, except to pray. We all pray at times like that; prayers are heart-felt thoughts sent out into the universe, to God if you believe, to whatever can help if you do not believe in God.

The following days, however, found us busy dealing with the fears of the families and children we served, as well as mobilizing other help through a 9/11 Crisis hot line.  When the immediate crisis is over, the need for support continues.

The  Mobile Community Support Team’s mission  was to keep children from being hauled off in an ambulance to an emergency room for possible admission to a psychiatric hospital.  Lots of our work involved training families in the art of crisis diffusion, but also to know when to call 911. Hence, the poster.

In order to remember the plan and what matters in a crisis, you need to know how to stay calm. That requires self-soothing skills.  Here’s one self-soothing skill we taught. The  OMM, once learned and practiced,  calms your body and focuses your mind.

A one minute meditation

A little know fact about crisis management:  being able to act strengthens you. Doing something to help others strengthens you more.

I am so grateful, my life’s path took me down this road.   As I tried to help others, I used what I was learning to create Emotional Fitness Training, Inc. and the Twelve Daily Exercises.

Start you emotional fitness plan by learning and practicing them. You’ve been introduced to one, here are three more.

This post was inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt —  In a Crisis: Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

And yes I am happy with having learned to stay calm so I can do what needs to be done.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.



These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

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