Part of educating our young about how to be good citizens is teaching them the critical lesson of how to be safe – and in the event of an emergency that threatens their safety, how to get help immediately. Teaching children early and thoroughly that 9-1-1 is not a toy, but a way to keep themselves and others safe, is a priority in today’s society.
It was with this important objective in mind that the United States Congress in 2008 recognized April as National 9-1-1 Education Month, supporting the initiative of the National 9-1-1 Education Coalition, an alliance of eight national organizations dedicated to advancing public safety communications.
The Coalition is made up of the NG9-1-1 Institute, 9-1-1 For Kids, the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT), the Association of Public Safety Officials (APCO), CTIA – The Wireless Association, the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), the National Association for State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA), and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
Each April the NG9-1-1 Institute celebrates 9-1-1 Education Month by co-hosting a kickoff celebration, conducting 9-1-1 education outreach efforts by providing 9-1-1 educators with a coordinated education campaign in an attempt to teach both children and adults about the appropriate use of 9-1-1 and how to call 9-1-1.
The national campaign theme for its education and awareness outreach remains “BE 9-1-1 READY.”
You can be a part of the campaign by encouraging members of your community to understand that being ready to call 9-1-1 will help public safety answering points provide the assistance they need quickly and correctly.
In honor of 9-1-1 Education Month, you could arrange a school visit to your local PSAP, ask representatives from your local PSAP to visit your school, hold a street fair or block party, or offer to go to your child's or grandchild’s class and read about 9-1-1. Other ideas include conferences and training events for parents, teachers, and care-givers that bring together the public safety community and industry leaders in a common effort to promote 9-1-1 education. Emergency communication tips are vital for survival, so consider taking part in 911 education.