Monday, August 23, 2010

Kids Save Lives - Make Sure Yours Know How to Use the Phone

We received a frightened call this summer from my seven year old nephew - "Dad's hurt" he said.  My brother-in-law is a very healthy, fit guy but has an inherited heart condition for which he has an internally installed defribillator.  That defribrillator went off between 6 and 7 seven times (a very severe episode and the only time he has ever experienced anything like that).   He did manage to tell his son "call Gram" which his son did.  We were there and iimmediately went to help.  Which brings me to the point of this post.  Make sure your children can use the phone from as early an age as possible and that they know the "911" number.  Some tips:
  • Keep a phone in a set place in the house (portables can be hard to find)
  • Have at least one land line or easy to find cell phone that works when the power is out
  • Make sure your child knows how to operate all phones - it can be tricky if some have "talk" buttons and others don't
  • Teach your children the "9-1-1" number and post it by the phone
  • Make sure your child knows they should be safe before they call 911 - e.g. they should not call 911 from the house if there is a fire.  They should go to a neighbour.
  • While most 911 calls can be traced, it's also a good idea that your child know your address and phone number.  Post it by the phone just in case and show them where it is.
  • Stress that 911 is for emergencies only and talk about what constitues an emergency
  • Do some role playing so that your child knows what questions the operator may ask them
    • do you need the fire department, ambulance or police?
    • what is the location of the emergency?
    • what is your location/phone number?
    • Is someone hurt? are they breathing? can you describe the situation
  • Explain the importance of remaining calm even though the child may be worried or scared
  • Talk about the different roles of emergency workers
  • Post 1 other emergency number by the phone (eg. an easy to reach friend or neighbour)
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