911 Basics for Kids
911 training for children should be a cornerstone of your family's emergency routine.
Parents can begin teaching their children basic safety precautions and what to do in different types of emergencies at a young age. Plan and perform household safety drills a couple times each year to keep safety information fresh in your family's mind.
As part of the emergency handling education, parents need to inform their children on when to call 911 and what questions to expect from the 911 calltaker.
What to Teach Your Children About 911
Know Your Address
Children should memorize their home address and know that it is OK to give that address to 911 calltakers.
When to Call 911
- A friend has a head injury causing bleeding and no adults are immediately available
- You smell smoke or see flames in the house or building you are in
- A family member or friend faints or losses consciousness
- When someone is choking
- When someone you do not know is trying to enter your house
- A person claiming to be a police officer unexpectedly knocks on the door
- When you observe a crime taking place
If a child questions whether to dial 911 or not, they should call 911 right away.
When Not to Call 911
- For information, directory assistance, or for specific phone numbers
- When you are bored and just want to talk
- To get help for your pet
- As a prank
- For non-life threatening situations
- For a crime that is no longer in progress
Calling During a Home Invasion
Home invasions often bring unique circumstances and situations with them. Since no two homes or home invasions are the same, it is difficult to establish just one set of rules to abide by. Each household should plan ahead and develop a concrete emergency routine and practice that routine a couple times a year.
An exact address is the most important piece of information a child needs to provide when they call 911.
General Tips to Follow:
- If a child can safely call 911 they should do so immediately. Don't wait
- If your child can safely exit the home and go to a close-by neighbor's house, that is often the safest plan of action
- If children cannot safely exit the house they should find a room or area with minimal entry points and stay there until help arrives
Be Prepared to Answer Important Questions
Children should be prepared to answer these questions:
- What is the location of the emergency?
- Tell me exactly what happened.
- What is the phone number you are calling from?
- What is your name?
- Are you at the location now?
- Were weapons involved or mentioned?
- Please describe the people/weapon/vehicles at the scene.