HES students learn 9-1-1 safety

Students are seated in an auditorium. A police officer holds a microphone near one student.

Herkimer Elementary students learned how, when and why to dial 9-1-1 during assemblies on Tuesday morning.

Students listened intently as School Resource Officer Wright shared a presentation that included two actual 9-1-1 calls that had been made by children during emergencies.

In one phone call, an 11-year-old girl alerted police that intruders were in her home. In another call, a 3-year-old dialed 9-1-1 when his father injured himself.

After showing students the videos, Officer Wright quizzed them about what the children in the videos had done correctly.

“She didn’t hang up — she stayed on the phone,” one student answered.

Students talked about situations when it would be appropriate to call 9-1-1, like after a car accident, during a fire, or when someone is injured or in danger.

Officer Wright also showed students pictures of two houses, and asked them to identify the distinguishing characteristics of each home, like the color of the house, or nearby landmarks. Being aware of these details, Officer Wright said, can help children communicate with first responders in an emergency.

Tips for Parents

Officer Wright offered the following tips for parents to help prepare school-age children to deal with an emergency situation:

Using the phone

Make sure your child knows where to find a phone and how to dial 9-1-1. Show them where to find the “Emergency” command on the lock screen of your cellphone so they can still dial out in an emergency, and show them how to place a call.

Know your location

Help your child learn their home address and telephone number, and know as many details as possible about where they are. For example, your child may not be able to memorize their baby-sitter or grandparents’ street address, but they should be able to identify the home as a yellow house, a second-story apartment, etc. Be sure your child knows how they can exit from your home in the event of an emergency.

Understanding 9-1-1

Children should know that dialing 9-1-1 means that first responders will come to their location — even if they dial the number by accident or as a joke. This also means that dispatchers can help find a child even if the child is unable to speak to them over the phone. Above all else, children who dial 9-1-1 should stay on the phone and do their best to talk to the dispatcher until help arrives.