This week, a little girl in Langford, possibly saved her mother’s life. Rebekah Simpson called 9-1-1 when her mother collapsed in the family’s back yard. You can listen to Rebekah’s call here. (Moms, get ready for waterworks).
This story was a good reminder for me to refresh my daughter’s memory about 9-1-1 and how to use it. I haven’t taught this to my 3 year old son yet, but think now is as good of a time as any. I did a bit of research and would like to share some tips on how to teach the use of 9-1-1 to your kids.
- We purposely keep a land line in our home in the event of an emergency. We don’t want our kids to have to deal with having to find a cell phone. We use a stationary phone as we used to have portables and they would always get lost around the house or run out of batteries. One thing I am going to do, however, is make sure we have a phone on both floors of our house (currently we just have one on the main floor).
- Talk to your kids about what is an emergency (e.g. an intruder, a fire, a collapsed parent) and what is not (e.g. a skinned knee, a lost pet). Do stress, however, that when in doubt they should make the call.
- Enforce that calling 9-1-1 as a joke is NOT okay. A phoney call could delay life-saving services to someone who really needs them.
- Teach kids to memorize their street address and phone number and post it (with other emergency numbers and information) near the phone. Most 9-1-1 calls from a land line can be traced but if you can provide an address, services can be dispatched more quickly.
- Tell your children that although the 9-1-1 dispatcher is a stranger, it is okay to trust them. They need to answer all his or her questions as best they can. The dispatcher is there to help.
- Talk about the fact that it is normal and okay to be scared during an emergency. However, it is important to try remain calm and speak in a slow, clear voice – giving as much detail as possible.
- Tell your child not to hang up the phone until the 9-1-1 dispatcher says it is okay. If no address has been provided, it is critical to stay on the line so the call can be traced.
- If, for whatever reason, your child cannot find or access a phone to call 9-1-1 make an arrangement with a neighbour for your kids to run to their house for help.
I pray neither of my children ever have to experience what little Rebekah did. However, if they do, I want them to be as prepared as she was.