Dispatcher: “911, what's your emergency?”
The three numbers that can save your life…911…we teach our children to dial them.
“It's as soon as they can possibly comprehend it,” says Doughterty EMA Deputy Director Jim Vaught.
But, can our children use our smartphones?
“I think it's definitely something to think about. Because given we don't even have a landline so if something happens they wouldn't know how to
unlock the phone,” says one mother, Emily Ingram.
Many of us know Emily Ingram as a professional bodybuilder, but she's also a mother of four. Her youngest, Olive, who's 5 and Tadhg, who's 7, knew exactly how to unlock the iphone and dial 911. The two learned from watching their parents and older siblings.
“I think she learned from watching them,” says Tadhg.
“Indie, my 10-year-old, taught Tadhg how to flip it over to find the emergency because I hadn't thought about it,” Emily says.
Aujua Lowe, has a 2-year-old son who learned how to use her phone by watching her. She says he began unlocking her phone to play games when he
was just one year-old. “He already knew how to swipe the phone and unlock it so. Yeah, he can get to the keypad and dial 911,” she says.
Using a smart phone instead of a landline is certainly different to the older generations that have experienced the change. But, many children have
easily adapted to the new technology.
Vaught says, while they haven't had any reports of children not being able to call 911 because they couldn't unlock a smart phone, it's a good time to prepare. “More and more people have moved away from using the landlines and strictly only have a cell phone. So it is something, it's new and we just haven't had any reports as of yet, but that doesn't mean that it's not possible that we could experience a problem because of new technology,” he says.
Cell phone companies have instructions on their websites. They recommend going through all the steps with your children on how to unlock your phone,
opening the keypad and dialing the number. While emergencies are unexpected, preparing and planning could be the difference between life and death.
It's also important to teach your child how to communicate with a dispatcher.