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911 Calls Can Be More Expensive Than a Cruise!

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Q: Recently, at our clubhouse, several members got into a conversation about what happens when someone calls 911 for help. Several asked, "How much does it cost?"

Everyone had his or her own opinion. Because we all may face making that call, can you share a few guidelines for us?

A: Emergency calls should only be made when a life-threatening event occurs, including heart failure, a major fall, auto accident, choking on food, a fire, gas or power lines down, troubled breathing or sudden mental disorientation.

Emergency calls are your first line of defense and primary source for immediate help. When you call, the dispatcher will make a judgment call that helps evaluate the seriousness of the patient's condition and will send help.

Few people consider cost factors during their experiences.

Ambulance service is managed by fire departments, hospitals, private volunteer groups and by cities.

Costs vary widely depending on the service needed, location, timing, your private insurance, Medicare, medical code billing and many other variables. If you have private insurance, now is a good time to check it out Every insurance company provides details about costs and reserves the right to determine if the emergency qualifies as a "true emergency."

After you call, be prepared to give the patient's name, location and a brief description of the nature of the emergency. The dispatcher may ask for other details.

Although you may be in panic mode, being patient and informative for the responder will speed up the arrival of emergency vehicles.

As ambulance emergency service is primarily a profit-making business, there are a few nonprofits.

Be aware that you may be billed for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for transportation.

Q: We have been retired for almost a year and remain in our family home where we have lovingly raised our family for over 37 years.

We have made the decision to sell and rid ourselves of our stuff. Both our home and garage is packed to the limit with not only our stuff but also our four kids' junk What's our solution?

A: No doubt you have discussed your plans with your family, but maybe they are not as happy as you are about your moving and hesitate to help you!

Parents rule! Schedule dates for their help in moving you and move on. We all value stuff because of loving, wonderful memories, and happy times together. Pretending you have already purchased your new home and set the date for the movers' arrivals adds to a positive attitude and encouragement.

Begin by identifying what is worth keeping and start slashing away at the other. Stuff needs to be sold, donated or hauled off. Circle your calendar with a great big "X" for when you'll be outta there and in your new home!

Hoarding and collecting are not the same. Reserve a place for displaying those items in your new home.

Substitute your patience and procrastination with a proactive attitude.

Freedom from stuff lies ahead!

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact him at deardoug@msn.com. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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