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Does your child know what to do in case of emergency? Here are five things to teach your children about when and how to call 9-1-1.

Explain what 9-1-1 is.
Your child should know that 9-1-1 is the phone number to call when they need help or if they see someone who needs help right away – explain what an emergency is and give examples like a car accident, getting lost, or if someone is sick or injured. Let them know that calling 9-1-1 means that the police, fire department and paramedics will come help them. Also, be sure to give examples when NOT to call 9-1-1.

Explain what happens when they call 9-1-1.
Tell your child that when they call 9-1-1 they will speak with a special operator who will ask questions and ask them to do things to help. It’s important for your child to know that they should follow directions as best as they can because they are the “eyes and ears” for the 9-1-1 operator. Your child should also tell the operator how old they are so the operator knows how to give age appropriate instructions. Explain that help will come much faster if they stay calm and tell the 9-1-1 operator everything that is happening.

Tell your child that they should never hang up when they call 9-1-1.
No matter what, your child should never hang up on the 9-1-1 operator. In situations where your child can’t talk or may be scared, tell them to keep the phone off the hook so the operator can hear what is going on. Even if your child calls 9-1-1 by accident, tell them to stay on the phone until the 9-1-1 operator tells them it is ok to hang up.

Work with your child so they memorize important details about themselves and their family.
When your child is old enough, help them memorize details like their first and last name, your home address, phone number, your name and cell phone numbers. If you have a home phone, post the same information near the phone so your child could read it to the 9-1-1 operator. This will help first responders arrive faster.

Encourage your child to be aware of their surroundings and location.
Help your child develop an awareness of their location. If they’re not at home, are they at another house or school? Are they on the street or playing in someone’s yard? Help them learn to identify street signs, building names or landmarks to help the 9-1-1 operator find their location in case of an emergency.

More information about kids and 9-1-1 can be found here.

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