Teaching Kids About 9-1-1

Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Does your child know how to call 9-1-1?

Teaching children how to use 9-1-1 is crucial and could save lives. Knowing what to teach your child about 9-1-1 is essential to ensure they use it properly and do not call 9-1-1 unnecessarily.

Here are some helpful tips for teaching the proper use of 9-1-1:

  • Never say “nine eleven.” There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say “nine-one-one.”
  • Always call from a safe place. If the house is on fire, make sure your child understands that they need to go to a pre-determined meeting place or to a neighbor’s house before calling 9-1-1.
  • Post your address near the phone or in a place everyone has access (ie. memo board, refrigerator, etc.).
  • Never call 9-1-1 as a prank or joke. You can get into trouble and keep someone who really needs help from getting it in time.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you think you have an emergency and explain the situation to the dispatcher.
  • If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, don’t hang up. Explain the mistake to the dispatcher and say there is no emergency.
  • Practice different scenarios with your child to make them more familiar with the concept without frightening them. For example, “What would you do if the house was on fire?” or “What would you do if someone was very badly hurt or unconscious?” Talk about different types of emergencies and how to respond to them.

Additional Resources:

911 for Kids

Pinterest – 911 Education for Children

VIDEO: Easy As 9-1-1

Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, and the Winters Storms of 2017. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

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