Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tips To Teach Your Kids About 9-1-1

Becky posing as our cell phone mascot

I've been working as a 9-1-1 Telecommunicator for almost 13 years now.  I believe it is of utmost importance to teach your children how, when, and why to call 9-1-1.  Here are a few tips to help:

Location - Teach your child their home address and phone number.  Use worksheets to help them memorize the address and #.  Although we have advanced computer systems and can sometimes track location, it's not always possible.  

Deactivated phones - Don't let your child use a deactivated phone that is no longer in service.  It can still call 9-1-1.  Be sure to remove the battery before giving little Johnny the phone to play with.

Prank calls - Instruct your child that it's never okay to prank call.  It ties up our lines and we have to assume there's an emergency.  If your tween calls and thinks it's funny to joke around, we will work to the best of our ability to find out where they're at and send an officer.  It's embarrassing to have an officer tell you about yourself in front of your other tween friends.

Eleven is not one -  Visually show your child how to dial 9-1-1.  A panicked child may become confused and look for an 11 to dial after the 9.  Let them know they need to push the 1 button twice.

Assurance - Let your child know that it's okay to call 9-1-1 if there's an emergency and the person on the other end of the line is there to help them.  Assure your child that the people responding (officer, fire, EMS) are there to help and not to be frightened by the sirens.

Stay on the line - Let your child know that it's important to answer all questions and stay on the line with dispatch.  We want to get all pertinent information and help calm the child.

Medical issues - Explain any medical issues you or anyone else in the household has.  Key them in on possible behaviors and reactions of those issues.  That way your child can tell dispatch what the possible problem is if they see mommy jerking from a seizure or see daddy almost unconscious from low blood sugar.

Role Play - Practice scenarios with your child.  Explain to them some questions that might be asked of them in certain situations.  It's just as important to go over this as it is a fire or tornado drill.

Do you have any other tips that might help a child learn about 9-1-1?


Maryann D. said...

This is all good advice for parents of young children or even teens. Knowing about Medical issues is so important in case of an emergency.
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Theresa Mahoney said...

Very good advice. I remember teaching my girls to dial 9-1-1 when they were little. As soon as they realized what the phone was for, we started drilling it in their head on how to dial for help in an emergency situation. Thankfully they never had to use it, but it's something every parent needs to make sure their children are educated on.