Teaching Children How to Use 9-1-1
The Tallahassee Police Department Communications Section would like to help citizens teach their children how to use the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system. The Communication Section has provided the following tips for parents and caregivers to reference when they instruct their children about this most important skill:
What to teach children
- When discussing the 9-1-1 emergency system, always tell children to dial "nine-one-one", never refer to this emergency number as "nine-eleven". There is no such number as "eleven" on the telephone and a child may easily become confused in the process of dialing.
- Teach your children to TRUST the 9-1-1 operator - explain to them that 9-1-1 is their friend and a source of help to them during an emergency.
- Teach your children their home address (or any other address they might need to give to the operator) in the event of an emergency.
- Advise your children about any possible emergency situation that is likely to occur at your home or location. Explain what things to lookout for.
- If a member of the family has a heart condition, tell your children how to identify the symptoms of a heart attack, i.e., person not breathing or suddenly collapsing, etc. Instruct the child to call 9-1-1 should these symptoms occur.
- Carefully explain to your children that 9-1-1 is for an emergency and that an emergency is when they need to get law enforcement, the fire department, or paramedics in a hurry.
- Pay particular attention to teaching children that 9-1-1 IS NOT A TOY OR GAME and should never be played with unless it is actually needed. Possibly use the classic "Crying Wolf" story and relate it to the use of 9-1-1. At the same time you must avoid discouraging a child from using 9-1-1. Any time that they think they need to call, encourage them to use 9-1-1, even if they are in doubt.
What all kids need to know about 9-1-1
- 9-1-1 is the number to call if you have an emergency. Have an adult show you how to dial the telephone.
- Some older phones have dials instead of buttons. If your phone looks like this, or if you stay at grandmas and her phone looks like this, have an adult teach you how to use it.
- You should also learn how to use a cell phone if you have one.
- Call 9-1-1 only for an emergency. Never call for a joke.
- Be ready to give your name, address, and telephone number. Tell the person who answers what is wrong. They are there to help. Follow their instructions and don't hang up unless they tell you to.
- You can call 9-1-1 if you see a fire.
- You can call 9-1-1 if you see an accident.
- You can call 9-1-1 if you see a crime.
- You can call 9-1-1 if somebody is very sick or hurt.
- Remember - call 9-1-1 and we will send you help!
- Remember - its okay to call 9-1-1 if you are lost, you can use a payphone if you see one, you don't need money to call 9-1-1.