Using 9-1-1

One of the best ways to prepare your family for an emergency is to teach your children how to properly use 9-1-1. Explain to them what 9-1-1 is, and use concrete examples of when and when not to call. Remind them to always get to safety first -- before calling 9-1-1. You can always phone from a neighbour's house or a pay phone. Don't stay where there's danger.

Scenarios to practice with your kids

Children learn by doing. Practice scenarios with them to help them become familiar with 9-1-1 --and what to say to an operator if they should ever have to call. Below are some examples of when and when not to call -- review them with your children to help reduce panic or anxiety in case of a real emergency.

Situation: Mom's been hurt

You're playing in the living room when you hear a loud noise from the kitchen. You go to see what's happening and see mom lying on the floor. What should you do?

Check to see if mom can hear me.

Mom answers you, then tries to get up but can't. She is bleeding a lot. Should you call 911?

Yes, I have to call 911 and ask for an ambulance.

What should you tell 911?

"The emergency is at 123 X street, X city. My mom fell down, she can still talk but she's bleeding a lot and can't get up. I am calling from 123 X Street, X City. This is also where we live."

Can you wait for the ambulance with your mom?

Yes, because I'm not in any danger.

Situation: Your house has been broken into

You come home from school and see the door to your house is broken. You think someone you don't know may be inside. What should you do?

Go to a neighbour's house or use a payphone for free and ask to call 911.

What should you tell 911?

"The location of the emergency is 123 X street, X city. Someone I don't know has broken into my house and might be inside. I need the police. I am at 123 X Street, X City, my neighbours' house and I'm safe."

Can you wait for the police?

Yes, but I have to stay at the neighbours'. I can't go home to wait for the police.

Situation: Your sister falls off her bike

You're playing outside with your older sister and she falls off her bicycle. What should you do?

Check to see if she can hear me.

She answers you but says her knee hurts a little. Her knee is bleeding a little bit. Should you call an ambulance?

No, this isn't a serious injury and she is conscious.

What should you do?

Go home to clean the injury or go get help from an adult.

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