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April 29, 2011 > Teaching kids when to call 911

Teaching kids when to call 911

By Meenu Gupta
Photos Courtesy of Union City PD

Whether it is a medical emergency, a fire or a crime to report, the importance of a timely call to 911 cannot be overstated. It is essential to teach kids when it's okay to call 911, how to dial and what to say to dispatchers. It is equally important to tell them when not to call the number and inadvertently tie up lines. UCPD 911 dispatchers, with the assistance of UCPD COPPS and Traffic Unit, have organized a classroom presentation for kindergarteners.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12-13, officers with the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) unit as well as Traffic and other units, conducted a "911 for Kids" presentation at Hillview Crest Elementary School. Elementary School Dispatcher Isabel Lopez, Dispatcher Priya Boparai and Officer Ryan Seto provided kids presentations to three classes. This followed a presentation made at Kitayama School the previous week. 911 for kids was also presented at Searles Elementary School on Wednesday, April 27.

A comprehensive video provided information to children on how to call 911 using a rotary, push button and wireless phone. "At the end of the video, the dispatchers quiz the children about when to call 911 and what an emergency is," said Officer Ryan Seto, COPPS Unit, Union City Police Department. "They also have a uniformed officer present who can show the children what tools we carry on patrol and how to identify a police officer." Using a few skits and a quiz, kids are taught when to call 911 in an interactive and fun manner. Children also learn more about dispatch center. "We also cover 'stranger danger' and remind children never to leave with anybody they are not familiar with," said Seto.

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