When it comes to 911 hang-up calls, children are some of biggest culprits, said the county’s 911 call center director.
Tim Lee, executive director of the Consolidated Communications Partnership, said teaching children when and why to call 911 is one of the best ways to reduce the number of unnecessary calls.
Sometimes the dropped call is as innocent as a child carrying a cellphone in his or her backpack that gets bumped on the bus or a parent allowing a child to play with an old phone – not realizing that it can still make emergency calls, Lee said.
The most important thing is to teach kids not to hang up if they accidentally call police, he said.
To help curb the number of these calls, 911 officials and local dispatchers decided to create a video to share with elementary-age students at local schools.
Last month, PBS 39 launched a video field trip to be shared with all private, public and parochial schools in Allen County, said Cathy Edwards of WFWA PBS39.
The film, called 911: What’s Your Emergency? is designed to educate children about when and why to call 911, Lee said.
The 25-minute video includes interviews with local police, firefighters and emergency personnel.
In the past, the education piece has been sparse, Lee said. It’s been in the schools, but not like this.
If children are educated about what happens when they dial the numbers 911, they won’t be curious to test the system and flood dispatchers with non-emergency calls, he said.
Throughout the video, police officers, firefighters and dispatchers from Allen County discuss when to call 911, what a call sounds like, what details children need to provide the dispatcher and other information that can help children better understand emergency calls.