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When an emergency arises, does your child know how to get help?

Tips on teaching your children about calling 911
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 3:06 PM CDT
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OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) - Calling 911 typically means an emergency has occurred and help is needed. Making your children aware of this is a top priority, but its also crucial to teach them the importance of the number.

“We, first of all, don’t want kids playing with it, because we have had children play on 911. But to let them know that it’s a special number and it’s an important number. I think it gives a meaning to this is when you should call and why you should call 911,” said Paula Simmons, the Ozark-Dale County E911 Director.

Experts say parents should teach their children about 911 when they feel their child is old enough to understand.

“Most four-year-old know their numbers, and I think they can get a better concept of why that’s a special number. How to use that. And most of them are already playing games on the phone, so they’re familiar with a cellphone,” said Simmons.

Walk them through scenarios of when to call--like during a fire.. medical situations or when they witness a physical altercation. Children also need to know how to give their location.

“The most important thing is the address, and that is something else that you need to utilize when you are doing scenarios. The role-play is -- know your address that’s very important, and to know their surroundings so they can tell us what the house looks like. Even if they don’t know, maybe just the street name and what kind of vehicles are in the yard,” said Simmons.

If a parent runs into problems during training, they can call for help

“If a parent is trying to teach their child how to call 911, and they’re nervous about it, or just want to know what it sounds like on the other end -- we have no problem with the parent actually calling 911 and letting us know ‘hey I’m just teaching my child how to call 911′ because it’s important to me and it’s important to us,” said Simmons.

Many homes no longer have landlines, so making sure your children also know how to bypass a password is also important.

Texting is another option for adults or older children to utilize as well. This was implemented in 2019 in 11 counties in southeast Alabama giving individuals the option to text 911 if they are in situations where calling is not an option.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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