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Teaching kids about 9-1-1 can save lives

Would your children know what to do in an emergency situation?
Paramedic unit chief Marilyn Oberg teaches a child about calling 9-1-1
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Kids rely on their caregivers to keep them safe. Knowing exactly what to do in an emergency can make it less scary and confusing for them – and could save a life.

It’s more than teaching children how to dial a phone. It’s about helping children understand what an emergency is and what happens when a dispatcher answers their call. 

Start with the basics when your child is three or four. Role-play some simple scenarios with your child – ‘mom can’t get up from the floor and there’s no one else around’ – and then pretend to dial 9-1-1 on a play phone. 

Revisit the lesson every year as your child becomes more mature and aware of his or her surroundings and abilities.

Follow the three Ts to teach your children to call 9-1-1: 


  • Talk to your children about emergencies. Speak calmly, in a reassuring manner, about different kinds of emergency situations in your home, in the park or with friends. Ask questions such as:
    • What would you do if someone faints? 
    • What would you do if someone has a bug bite?
  • Tell children:  
    • 9-1-1 is a number to call for help when someone is in danger or not safe.
    • You can trust the person who answers a 9-1-1 call.
  • Try role-playing to build their confidence. 
    • Ask them when they should call 9-1-1.
    • Get them to point out emergency workers in your community.
    • Practice asking them what their address or location is – dispatchers will need this information to send an ambulance.

Learn more 

See Teaching Your Children about 9-1-1 for more detailed information.

BC Ambulance Service; BCEHS; 9-1-1 response; public safety; Emergency Preparedness; Kids; Kid's Safety
 
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