An estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 centers across the country annually. Some of these calls are made by the littlest of heroes -- children.
While many parents teach their kids how to dial 911 in the event of an emergency, many telecommunicators agree there are a few critical steps parents may be overlooking.
Ask practically any kid in your neighborhood and they will likely be able to show you how to dial 911. They can even probably recite both their home address and phone number.
While that's good information they need to know, have you taught your children how to use the phone?
According to the Federal Communications Commission, an estimated 70 percent of all 911 calls are made from a cell phone.
In fact, about a third of the country uses wireless as their primary or only type of phone service.
From Blackberries and Androids, to iPhones and other mobile devices, each operates differently.
For each type of phone in your home, your little ones need a hands-on emergency call lesson.
Kristi Rhinehart is a telecommunicator for MEDIC which serves the metropolitan area of Charlotte, N.C.
"They are just like little adults," Rhinehart says referring to young children. "They absorb a lot of information and we should give them that information!"
When America Now asked 7-year-old Kensi Bell to show us how she would dial 911 from her father's cell phone, she barely knew how to turn it on.
This is why it is critical to teach your child basic cell phone functions, including the emergency call button on every smart phone.
It's located on the bottom of the password screen, but your child doesn't need to know the code in order to use it.
Make sure they also know the number for each cell phone located in your home as well as the one you're using on the road.
While a nearby cell tower may be capable of tracking a 911 caller's location, your child always needs to have some sense of where they are.
"Without an address, we are dead in the water; we don't know where to go," Rhinehart explains.
Help children memorize the addresses of places you commonly visit like the park or their grandparents' home.
Even knowing nearby landmarks is helpful to telecommunicators.
"If it happened in real life and you're not prepared, then that would be bad," Bell says.
So, take a tip from this child and practice, practice, practice!
First, call the 911 operations center for your region, and check to see if your child could call 911 using your cell phone to speak with an actual telecommunicator as a practice drill.
Don't stop there.
"Ask if you can take a tour. Many 911 centers will allow you, especially if you are teaching your child proper 911 techniques, to come in and see exactly what they do," Rhinehart adds.
It may surprise you, but some telecommunicators say children are the calmest and most helpful callers they get.
"I would rather talk to a child all day long, than talk to a freaked-out adult," Rhinehart adds.
If you are the parent or guardian of a small child, teach them about the circumstances in which they should call 911, how to appropriately communicate where they are using an address and landmarks, and how to work all the wireless devices in your home.
The FCC recommends parents create a contact in your wireless phone named ICE which stands for In Case of Emergency. Include in it a list of phone numbers for people you want to be notified in an emergency. This could be a helpful aid for first responders and your children.
The following information is from the website KidsHealth from Nemours in an online article entitled, "Teaching your Child How to Use 911" (Source: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/911.html).
The following information is from DisneyFamily.com in an article entitled, "Teaching Your Child About Dialing for Help" (http://family.go.com/parenting/pkg-school-age/article-797751-teaching-your-child-about-dialing-for-help-t/).
The following information is from the website National Emergency Number Association (NENA) in an online article entitled, "911 Statistics" (http://www.nena.org/?page=911Statistics).
The following information is from the Federal Communications Commission (Source: www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services).
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