How to prepare your family for an emergency

In case of an emergency, does your child know what to do?  When accidents happen you need to act quickly, but in the terror of the moment, it is easy to become confused and disoriented.  That is why it is important to prepare for an emergency now before it happens.

By teaching your kids how to call 911 and gathering the information they will need to provide the 911 operator ahead of time, experts say it could mean the difference between life or death.

Paducah-McCracken County Emergency Communication assistant director Brent Stringer said the center receives hundreds of phone calls a day.  

“Once you call 911, immediately after you hit that last one we are getting that phone call instantly,” said Stringer.

Stringer said it is important your children know what to do in case of an emergency.

“We have seen that five and six year old’s have called 911 and saved a parent’s life, when they see mom or dad collapse and being able to get that phone and call,” said Stringer.

Therapist Jennifer Villarreal said the sooner you teach kids how to call 911, the better.

“It’s never too early to get started, but around age four is a good time. When a child makes that 911 call, the dispatcher is going to ask for their name and location, it’s important to have that information given to your children, helping them remember that or posting that near the phone so they’ll know where to look,” said Villarreal.

With more than 80 percent of 911 calls coming in from cell phones, Stringer said it is more important than ever to give the 911 operator your exact location.

It is also important to know when to call 911.  An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance.

This includes a fire, a crime, a car crash, or a medical emergency.  If you are not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, go ahead and call 911 and let the operator determine whether you need help.

When you call 911, be prepared to answer the operator’s questions – the location of the emergency, phone number, the nature and details of the emergency.

If you or your child dials 911 by mistake, do not hang up. Instead, stay on the line and explain to the operator what happened.

For more information about what to do in an emergency, click here.

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