Traveling to the United States is most often a safe and sane adventure. However, it is prudent to know before arriving what the necessary steps will be in case of an emergency. Travelers should be aware of the procedures to contact emergency agencies when sightseeing independently or with a tour group.
The Emergency Call
To access the police, summon an ambulance, or call the fire department, the national phone number is 911. This emergency number will dispatch the proper authorities that are local to the land line where the call was placed. Cell phone users must be able to convey their location as only land line calls provide the caller's precise location to the authorities.
Travel insurance policies are easy to obtain and are affordable for most travelers. The basic travel insurance policy covers medical emergencies, lost luggage, cancelled flights and more. In addition, travelers who plan to participate in high-risk behavior may increase the coverage of the policy to include long-term hospital care and medical helicopter transport. This type of travel insurance is ideal for ski trips, skydiving, and athletes engaging in extreme water sports.
The National Poison Help Center
Travelers who need telephone assistance dealing with bites from spiders, scorpions, snakes and insects may contact the Poison Help center toll free at 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Help hotline provides practical advise on how to treat non-emergency bites. However, when serious symptoms occur, the victim may require an ambulance dispatched from 911.
County Health Department
Restaurants in the United States are regulated by the Health Departments serving each county across the nation. The Health Department issues a grade of A, B, C, or D to restaurant owners and the rating must be displayed in plain view of the restaurant patrons. The Health Department protects diners by ensuring that the handling, storing and preparation of the food meets all county health code regulations. To guard against getting sick from a meal, travelers should avoid establishments that have a D rating.
Should a traveler become ill due to a tainted meal, he or she may report the incident to the County Health Department. The report is made with one phone call and the traveler will not be expected to remain in the city after the initial contact. Check the local phone book for the County Health Department number to register a complaint.