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What Your Child Needs To Know About Dialing 9-1-1

10:54 PM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, N.C. -- Children are surrounded by more technology and touch screens than ever before. Many of us have gotten rid of landlines to save money, but you may want to rethink that decision.

Emergency dispatchers say cell phones are not your best choice in an emergency, especially if you have children. Cell phones come in all different shapes and sizes. Even adults have trouble figuring them out.

However, your child needs to be more than just tech savvy. You child must also know his or her address, especially in an emergency.

"We've been talking a lot about learning our address," parent Jennifer Jones said. "I think the car is a great place to have conversations like that."

Jones has also had conversations with her husband about getting rid of their landline. She said, "We don't use it a lot, but then we started thinking...What if there was an emergency and they needed to call for help?"

Another parent, Patrick Currin, told WFMY News 2, "To tell you the truth, we haven't thought about it too much...the emergency aspect of it. We've thought more about it being a nuisance to have a landline and being solicited for phone calls."

Currin's family decided to ditch their landline.

"Our oldest, who is going on three, learned how to slide the iPhone open. It's amazing how easily they can learn to adapt to that," Currin said.

Last month, 93 percent of calls coming into Guilford Metro 911 came from cell phones.

"It greatly concerns me if parents with younger children have gotten rid of their landline, especially if those children do not know their addresses. It's a danger should anything happen to those parents," Guilford Metro 911 spokesperson Melanie Neal said.

When you dial 9-1-1 from a cell phone, first responders cannot always pinpoint your location. They rely on you to tell them where you are.

"In emergency situations, there is a sense of panic. Sometimes children get really excited. So, we always recommend keeping that landline until children are older," Neal said.

With a landline, your address immediately pops up on the screen.

"I would be afraid to get rid of my landline," parent Karen Morrison said. Morrison taught her children how to respond in an emergency. "We taught them their address as soon as we could. They couldn't write it, but they could say it," she said.

Morisson's son, Alex, added, "If you don't know your address, you won't know where you live, so you won't know what to tell the police."

After more consideration, Currin is having second thoughts about getting rid of his landline."It's going to be something we consider as we move forward," he said.

One of the best ways to teach your children how to dial 9-1-1 is to practice doing it. Just call the non-emergency number and let them know you're about to do a practice call. Dispatchers are more than happy to do this. In Guilford County, the non-emergency number is: 336-373-2222.

In some cases, you may still be able to dial 9-1-1 even if you don't pay for landline service. But, don't assume this will be the case. Always, test it out. Plus, keep in mind, that connection is not guaranteed, if you're not paying for it.

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