You can never be too prepared in the event of a 911 emergency.
Whether you’re making a 911 call in the United States, picking up the phone to dial the 112 emergency number in Europe, or calling for 999 emergency assistance, a call for emergency services is serious business.
That being said, you need to prepare your children as well.
From the very young to older teens, children need to know what to do.
There may come a day when they are the only ones who are capable of making 911 calls in a tense situation.
Take the time to sit down with your children and explain what is what.
Making an Emergency 911 Call is Not a Game
When you sit down and talk with your children about a 911 emergency, it should be at a time when there are no distractions so that they pay attention.
The most important thing little ones need to understand is that the phone isn’t a toy and making 911 calls isn’t a game.
They need to know that emergency services are likely to come to the house, even if a call is made by mistake, and that could mean that someone else in trouble won’t get the help that they need.
Children of today’s generation are accustomed to playing with apps on mobile devices or with their toy phones.
Make sure they know there will be very serious consequences if they make 911 emergency, 999 emergency calls, or dial the 112 emergency number while playing with the phones.
Likewise, monitor your children closely when they are using your mobile device to play one of the many entertaining games that are available, ensuring they do not wander to places where they do not belong.
Remind them that the only kind of phones they can use at playtime without your supervision are toy phones.
Show them the real phones in the household and any play phones they may have, making the difference between the two clear.
While you might think that this talk is confined to younger children, your older children need to have absolute respect for 911 call services with a firm understanding that they should never do prank calls to emergency services.
Otherwise, their fun and games could mean tragedy for someone who didn’t get help in time.
Do a Demonstration
As you have your discussion with your little ones about making 911 calls, 999 emergency call, or dialing the 112 emergency number, have the phone handy in order to demonstrate how to make an emergency call, without actually sending a call through.
If you have more than one phone, such as a land line and a cellular phone, show your children the important numbers on the keypad.
Ask them to repeat the numbers out loud and to find the appropriate numbers to dial.
Watch them point to the correct numbers and praise them for a job well done when your children do so correctly.
Don’t forget to point out to them that the land line is the best phone to use when calling for emergency services because help will get there more quickly.
However, let them know that is okay to use any kind of real phone when an emergency happens.
Post a Card with Simple Instructions to Call 911
Make a bright, colorful card with instructions for your children.
If they are very young, the only thing that might be on that card is the three digit emergency number.
For children who are older, include your address and the names of your family members, as well as the home phone number.
911 emergency dispatchers will be asking for contact information to assist in locating your address quickly.
Even young children who cannot read can learn their address, phone number and the names of their parents.
Do practice drills, asking your children to tell you the important information that is needed when they ask for help.
Place the card someplace that is easy to see.
You could post it on the refrigerator, on a table by the phone, or on the wall next to the phone.
Show your children where they can find the card and refer to it often.
While you are cooking in the kitchen or sitting at the table doing a project, ask about the card, where to find it, and what is on it.
Say it enough times and your children will memorize all the information they need to call 911.
Explain an Emergency Situation to Your Children
Once you have told your children about how to make a 911 call, you need to explain to them reasons why they might have to call for help.
If there is a fire, either in your own home or at a neighbor’s, they definitely should pick up the phone.
However, make sure they understand that they need to get out of the house and go to a safe place first.
If they’re alone and there is an intruder, it’s time to make that 911 call.
This could be tricky. Your children should try and get out of the house.
If that isn’t possible, they can hide and make the call.
Otherwise, they might be able to dial 911 and leave the line open while the phone is concealed.
The 911 emergency dispatcher will be able to send the proper authorities.
If a child is lost and has a cell phone, this is an appropriate instance to dial 911.
The 911 emergency dispatcher will be able to take action to help locate your child through the use of modern technology and by asking for information to help pinpoint the exact location.
If someone is drowning, choking, very sick, burned, badly hurt or unconscious, 911 should always be called.
This especially holds true if a child’s caregiver is in trouble, unable to ask for help.
When your children are well-informed, they could mean the difference between life and death when they have to make that 911 call.