Emergencies occur without warning, and they happen fast. If a crisis can create panic in an adult, imagine what it’s like for kids! While you can’t prepare them for every possible situation, it’s vital that you teach your children a few key moves in case of an emergency.
What is an emergency?
Kids need to know how to tell what an emergency is. Asking them questions like: “What would you do if you saw someone trying to break in?”, or “What would you do if there was a fire in our house?” gives you a way to discuss what qualifies as a true emergency. Explain that most things – like a grazed knee, the cat being stuck on the roof or a stolen skate-board – are NOT emergencies! Help them to understand that a break-in, a fire or a family member being unconscious is the kind of situation where you call emergency services.
Note: It’s important for kids to understand that prank-calls to emergency services can be treated as a crime, and a costly one, at that.
Who do you call in an emergency?
Talk to your children about who the emergency workers are in your community – paramedics, police officers, firefighters, nurses and doctors – and what they do to help people who are in trouble. The landline number for emergencies is 10177, and for cell-phones it’s 112.
How to call for help
It’s important for your kids to have your phone number and street address memorised. Make sure they know how to answer the basic questions that an emergency operator will ask:
- Where are you calling from – where do you live?
- What type of emergency is this?
- Who needs help?
- Is the person awake and breathing?
Make a game of it by addressing different emergency scenarios with role playing – it will help to give them confidence. Explain that it’s OK to be frightened in an emergency, but practise speaking slowly and clearly with them in the role-playing exercise and make it clear that they must stay on the line until the emergency responder says it’s OK.
More safety tips
Here are some more safety tips:
- Keep the emergency numbers on the fridge, above the home telephone and saved on every family member’s cell-phone.
- Check that your house number is clearly visible from the street so that police, fire, or ambulance workers can easily locate your address.
- If you live in a block of flats or a secure complex, make sure that your children know the flat or unit number, and which floor you live on.
- If you have a family member with a specific condition, such as epilepsy, diabetes or Alzheimer’s, prepare kids by discussing emergencies that could occur and how to respond.
Source: Your Parenting