Young students learn how to use 911

Friday, January 11, 2013

First grade students from Alta and Aurelia recently learned how to properly use the emergency 911 telephone system through a new program implemented by the BV County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Gary Launderville said the Alta and Aurelia students are the first to go through the program and that he wants to expand it to other schools in the county.

It was Alta Kiwanis President Steve Jimmerson that was made aware of the program while at a regional Kiwanis meeting in Nebraska earlier this year. The program is being used in Nebraska schools. Jimmerson was impressed by the program and checked into it more before talking to Sheriff Launderville about it who was equally interested.

The Sheriff's Department invested $700 into the program and received coloring booklets, two phones - one for students to dial 911 and the other for someone to use as a 911 dispatcher and a DVD that shares a story with such characters as Cell Phone Sally, Landline Larry and Payphone Patty on the proper ways to call 911.

The purpose for the practicing is so that children will not be afraid to call the emergency line in an actual emergency.

These are the instructions the students learned:

* Know your name and address

* Stay calm and speak slowly

* Speak loud and clear so the dispatcher can hear al the information

* Stay on the line until the 911 dispatcher says to hang up

Sheriff Launderville and Deputy Jeff Hansen stressed to the students that before dialing 911, make sure it is is an actual emergency.

"If you fall and scrape your knee or if your dog escapes, those aren't reasons to call 911. Calling 911 is not a game," they said.

Taking part in the mock calls was Sandy Hoyt, 20-year communication center employee.

"This was a maiden voyage," said Sheriff Launderville. Any school interested in taking part in the program should contact the Sheriff's Department at 749-2530.

Kiwanis Presidedent Jimmerson was also on hand to see the program in operation.