9-1-1 Practice for Children

9-1-1 Practice for Children

Hopefully your child will never find themselves in an emergency. However, in the unfortunate event that they do, it is important for them to know how to ask for help. Just to be safe, lets explore 9-1-1 practice for children.

By knowing who to approach and being able to provide that person with helpful information, your child can help to improve the situation all on their own.

It is a good idea to practice these safety skills with them so that they are prepared if they ever find themselves needing help. Today, let’s go over some ways to arm your children with the information they need to stay safe.

9-1-1 Practice for Children

Talking About Dialing 9-1-1 With Kids

By providing your child with instructions on what to do in case of emergency, you are helping them to be prepared if they are lost or in danger. The very first step should be ensuring that your child understands what 9-1-1 is and how it can help in an emergency.

First off, always refer to this number as "nine-one-one" instead of "nine-eleven." A child who doesn’t know any better may look for an "11" button on the phone.

Children should know that nine-one-one is a number that they can call if there is a serious emergency and they need help. They should also understand that using this number as a prank is unacceptable and can delay getting help to someone who truly needs it. You should stress that this number is only to be used in emergency situations.

With that in mind, they will need to understand what constitutes an emergency. 

What is an Emergency?

You can explain that an emergency is any situation that requires you to need the police, a firefighter, or an ambulance right away. In these cases, someone usually needs help because they are hurt or they are in danger. Helpful examples of an emergency are when there is a fire or a car accident, or when someone is having trouble breathing. 

For young children, go over who their “helpers” are, such as doctors, police officers and firefighters. When children are a bit older, it's important to review emergency situation procedures.

Practice Makes Perfect

In order for help to arrive promptly, the dispatcher will need to know:

  • who is calling,
  • what the emergency is,
  • and where help is needed. 

That’s a lot for an overwhelmed child to deal with. And remember, practice makes perfect! The more they practice, the more comfortable and confident they'll become.

Therefore, first things first: make sure your child can recite their name, address, and phone number. For apartment dwellers, kids should knows their apartment number and floor.

Next, they should know how to call 9-1-1 and what may happen once they do. When practicing with your child, first take the batteries out of your cell phone. This way, they won't actually call 9-1-1 accidentally.

Then, go over the process step by step. They should stay calm, dial the nine button, and then the one button, and the one button again. Let them know that the operator may ask what the emergency is. Your child should explain what is wrong as best they can. Your child should aim to speak clearly so the operator can understand them. If they are scared, have them start with “I need help.”

The operator will also ask for the child’s name and the location of the emergency. They should be prepared to recite their name and address. If they don’t know where they are, they should try to explain the location.  They should answer all questions and should not hang up until the operator tells them that it’s okay.

If your child is familiar with these basic steps, they will be much better prepared to deal with an emergency, if one should ever occur. It’s better to be safe and prepared!

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