April: My 9-1-1 Education Month
Today, it is common to associate dialing 9-1-1 with immediate help. However, this wasn’t always the case. You may be surprised to know that 9-1-1 has only been available across the United States for the past 40 years. Even today, it does not serve 100% of the United States. Thankfully since its implementation, 9-1-1 has served as the vital link between the American public and emergency services. In support of 9-1-1 centers across the country, I am reflecting back on the lessons I learned this April during 9-1-1 Education Month.
While reviewing common 9-1-1 misconceptions this past month, I realized regardless of a citizen’s age there is always new information to learn or relearn about dialing 9-1-1 and the response process. I have included three of the most common 9-1-1 safety tips that we discussed:
- Residents often take for granted that 9-1-1 call takers know exactly where they are calling from, but this isn’t the case when dialing from the cell phone! It is imperative to provide 9-1-1 your exact address especially for those in large apartment complexes and rural locations.
- Don’t hang up! Stay on the line and tell the call taker your call was an accident so they can record it in their system. If you hang up before speaking to them, 9-1-1 won’t know whether you are in danger or need assistance and will automatically dispatch help to check on the situation. This can waste valuable resources for other people who are experiencing emergencies.
- Educate your children about 9-1-1. You never know when you may need to call 9-1-1 or when your children will have to call on your behalf. Make sure your kids understand how to dial 9-1-1 and the important information they will need to relay such as name and address. There are numerous resources to help you convey this important information.
Local 9-1-1 centers as well as the National Emergency Number Association and other national 9-1-1 organizations have publicized public education and awareness campaigns throughout this past month to ensure citizens utilize 9-1-1 to the best of their ability to seek the safest possible outcome. These initiatives ensure citizens of all ages are well versed in the role they play in an effective and efficient emergency response for themselves and their fellow citizens. Take the 9-1-1 Challenge to see if you are well versed in 9-1-1 and can take an active role in keeping your family and community safe.