4-YEAR-OLD EXAMPLE TO PARENTS, KIDS ON HOW TO USE 911
Named City’s first Kid Hero for emergency call after mother falls down the stairs
You might have seen the story on the news about the Fort Wayne 4-year-old who called 911 or read about it in the paper, but I think it’s worth repeating here as a reminder to parents about the importance of teaching children how to use 911 and highlight the work of the City’s emergency dispatchers.
Four-year-old Alex had only lived at his address for 9 days, but when his mother fell down the stairs and became unconscious January 5, this little Fort Wayne resident knew to call 911 and was able to tell the calltaker his new address.
Along 911 Communications, the Fort Wayne Police and Fire departments, Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, I recognized Alex last month with the first Kid Hero award, including a Kid Hero backpack. The award is designed to recognize children who call 911 and are able to effectively communicate the needed information to dispatchers and follow the dispatchers’ instructions.
At the news conference City dispatcher Manda Overly met her preschool-age caller for the first time.
Alex’s mother, Jamie Coder, who turned out to be fine after the fall, was also in attendance. Because Coder did not have a landline, she promptly taught Alex his new address in case of an emergency.
Alex is a great example of how 911 is the public’s link to our public safety agencies, regardless of how old or how young the caller is. This call demonstrates the importance of children knowing their address. I encourage parents to follow Jamie Coder’s lead and teach their children — even if they aren’t in school yet — their home address and phone number. Coder should be commended for her efforts to prepare her child for an emergency.
On the tape, Overly asks Alex for his address. At first she can’t make out what the child says, but Overly continues to ask for the street address until she is able to understand and confirm the location. Turns out Coder had taught Alex his address as a song to help him remember the address. Between trying to sing the song and the emotions of the situation, he was initially difficult to understand over the phone.
911 Communications Director Tina Taviano reminds parents to teach their children as young as possible to know when to call 911, know their street address and know their phone number. People should not rely on a phone’s GPS capabilities or caller ID to be able to tell 911 their location. The more information provided by the person at the scene, the more effectively public safety agencies can respond.
There is no technology in the world that’s better than a caller who can accurately give us information about their location and report on the situation. Taviano and I are proud of this kid and his mother and proud of Manda for handling the call in a professional manner.
For information about when to use 911, visit www.cityoffortwayne.org, from under the Main Menu, click on Public Safety and then Communication 911.
For tips parents can use to help teach their children about 911, visit www.911forkids.com/.