Joint Communications offers tips on calling 9-1-1

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COLUMBIA - Boone County Joint Communications recognizes April as 9-1-1 Education Month. Each weekday throughout the month the department has released information on how to better prepare the public on calling 9-1-1.

One area of focus for the department is educating children on calling in cases of emergencies. Scott Shelton, the director of Boone County Joint Communications, he has seen 9-1-1 safety education work in the past few months.

"A seven year old called in," Shelton said. "Her grandmother needed medical help and she did a wonderful job. She obviously knew how to make the call so I would assume she had prior instruction on it."

Shelton said there is not a set age for when kids should be educated.

"A lot of that depends on maturity of the child," Shelton said. "We don't want two, three, four year olds calling because they probably don't have the ability to do that."

Kirsten Knight is the mother of a 16-month old who believes in the importance in 9-1-1 education.

"I plan on educating her on 9-1-1 safety," Knight said. "I feel like it's really important for kids to know what to do in an emergency."

Knight said she plans on educating her daughter Addyson when she's around five years old.

"That's probably when I feel like she would start understanding," Knight said.

An important step for parents to take, according to Joint Communications, is explaining to children what happens when they call 9-1-1. It is important for them to know only to call that number when they need emergency workers to come.

The department also recommends parents teach children to memorize their home address and phone number so they can better communicate with operators.

Joint Communications said it is also important for parents to show children how to dial 9-1-1.

Kinght said the thought of showing Addyson how to dial 9-1-1 makes her hesitant.

"I am kind of nervous about that because sometimes kids think it's a game to call 9-1-1," Knight said. "I'm going to make sure she knows it's only for very serious situations and it's not to play around."

Click here for more 9-1-1 tips from Joint Communications.