Allen County 911 Communications Center’s ever-growing educational program has reached over 10,000 students to date. That is an accomplishment even I didn’t see as tangible when we started the program back in 2010. The school program was developed in part of a larger goal of providing education to the public about what 911 is and how it works.
Over the years I am sure you have read about some of our improvements to the 911 Service like Phase II allowing for location information on a cell phone call and the latest enhancement of allowing Text to 911 services. The other big accomplishment and probably the most critical is that we have expanded our 911 Education Program to reach Preschool-4th grade. Previously we worked with students K-3 but after the program grew we were able to include higher educational groups to begin educating youth on pre-arrival instructions that will give our youth and young adults the tools necessary to help save a life.
For forty years, 911 has served as the vital link between the American public and emergency services. Public education and awareness initiatives throughout the years have contributed in large measure to the incredible and ongoing success of the emergency communications system as a whole. It is imperative that 911 professionals, teachers, government officials, media representatives, and industry leaders are equipped with the tools necessary to continue these efforts in the face of an ever-changing telecommunications landscape, and that citizens of all ages are well versed in the role they play in ensuring effective and efficient emergency response for themselves and their fellow citizens.
Our goal is to help kids understand the difference between an emergency and a non-emergency situation. Having this understanding can be a vital link that can help save lives. This education will include but is not limited to: how to dial 911, the importance of not playing or prank call 911, what information the 911 Communication Officer needs to know, the importance of remaining calm, speaking clearly, and staying on the phone until help arrives or the Communication Officer says it is okay to hang up.
As children grow older their capacity to help provide crucial details to the 911 Communications Officer will increase. Continuing education will help make sure that children are knowledgeable about the detailed and useful information needed when they call 911. We as educators cannot do this alone and encourage family members to get involved and help teach our youth about the use of 911.
Each student receives items to take home to continue learning about the importance of 911 with their parents or guardians. We also include things like stickers and pencils to help make learning fun.
The importance of this program for our youth is priceless. You continually see reports of children as young as 3 and 4 years old that are able to save their parents life by having the forethought to call 911. This is the true reason we offer such a program – helping to give the students the simple understanding of how they can be a vital link that can help save lives.
With our youth being educated on 911 services the Emergency Responders stand a better chance to reach someone in need of assistance in a more timely and efficient manner. The young caller will know how to provide the Communications Officer with a more accurate location, better account of what is going on and what resources are needed. It is our hope that this program will help to make our communities safer and our youth feel like a more vital link of the community by empowering them with the education to use the resources that we have.
Recent enrichments help to ensure that we are providing the best quality education to our youth, implementing 911 education to our youth of all ages, and teaching the children about overall safety. We couldn’t do it without help from our educators and the supportive role models the youth have at home. Thank you for your commitment to the program!
Director Angela Murphy