Advance View: Children equipped to save lives with 9-1-1

During an emergency, 9-1-1 is a critical lifeline that connects those in need with first responders, and children who know how and when to call 9-1-1 can save lives. 

This week is Emergency Service Dispatchers’ and 9-1-1 Awareness Week.

E-Comm call-takers and dispatchers – the bones and blood of the familiar 9-1-1 emergency dispatchsystem – are reaching out to parents and caregivers, urging them to take time to teach their children about 9-1-1. It could be one of the most important lessons they’ll ever learn.

“It’s heartbreaking when you get a 9-1-1 call from a young child who is scared, hurt, or needs help for a loved one,” explained one of E-Comm’s 9-1-1 call-takers.

Because you never know when a child may need to use that service, it’s important that they learn at an early age what to do in an emergency. Role-playing with your kids can help to prepare them.

E-Comm 9-1-1 call-takers have some great tips for parents/caregivers: show your child how to dial 9-1-1 on both landlines and cells (dialing can differ between phones)

Explain when to call 9-1-1 in words they can easily understand: 

If your child or someone else is “really sick or hurt”

If your child “smells or sees smoke or fire”

If your child feels in danger or “sees someone doing something very bad like stealing or hurting someone”

Explain to your child that a 9-1-1 operator will ask questions about where they are and what is happening. They will send the police, fire department or ambulance to help them.

Ensure children know where phones are located. Keep cordless phones fully charged and in the same place at all times and within easy reach.

Teach children their address including apartment numbers and building entry codes and keep that information close to all phones. Remember that landlines provide exact location information (addresses) to 9-1-1 but cellphones provide general location information only (no addresses).  

Role-playing what to do in emergency situations help kids understand what to do and when to call. You can find examples of the kinds of questions 9-1-1 staff will ask at www.ecomm911.ca.

Help prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls: Never pre-program 9-1-1 and don’t let kids play with phones, including old cellphones. Even decommissioned cellphones can still dial 9-1-1 if there is a charged battery. It is important for parents to know that in the event of accidental/prank calls 9-1-1 operators will call back and send police when location is determined.

If you would like to practise dialing 9-1-1 with your children, always unplug landline phones or remove batteries from cellphones while doing so (and remember to replace batteries or plug phones back in when you’re done).

“Knowing how to dial 9-1-1 is important for children of all ages, and we have lots of information, tips, and free learning materials available in a variety of languages on our website,” said Jody Robertson, E-Comm’s Director of Corporate Communications.

Robertson encourages parents to practise dialing 9-1-1 with their children, but asks that 9-1-1 not be programmed into any phone or given phones to play with to avoid accidental calls. “Accidental calls from children playing with phones do happen and that’s something we’d like to avoid to keep emergency lines free.”

Parents, caregivers, teachers and children of all ages can visit ecomm911.ca to download/order free materials. 

Just Posted

Langley conservative activist accused City council of human rights violations over flags

Kari Simpson will complain to the B.C. Human Rights tribunal, she said.

O’Neill a homegrown power hitter

Tyler O’Neill of Maple Ridge made his major league debut this past season

Country stars help raise money, supplies for babies in need

JRfm’s Basics for Babies campaign is on Dec. 15 at the Langley Events Centre.

Extreme weather warning due to rain issued for Langley

Gateway of Hope homeless shelter to offer extra sleeping accommodation

Singers stop by with big bucks for Langley Christmas Bureau

First Capital Chorus has held Christmas bureau fundraising concerts for a quarter century.

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

White Rock to allow dogs on promenade

Plans for a one-year pilot program would continue to ban canines on waterfront from May to August

UPDATE: Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

A vehicle incident has closed Highway 1 in both directions

Inquest scheduled into death of man in prison for gang-related killing

Gurwinder Mann, 39, died in Abbotsford while serving life sentence

Most Read