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© Gail Underwood Parker

Friday, September 30, 2011

Anything Can Happen: 9-1-1 Scripts

I have always been able to memorize phone numbers easily.  I don't know why.  I just can.  I know the local pizza place, the gas station, various doctors, friends, pastors, schools and many others.  I can reel them off without batting an eye.

Years ago, before universal 9-1-1- emergency numbers took effect, I knew that the local emergency number was 325-7386.  I knew it by heart.  I taught my students to memorize it. I made sure my children memorized it.  Then one day my 4 month old baby stopped breathing and was turning blue and.... I had NO IDEA what the number was and had to waste precious time looking it up. [She got help in time and is fine.] The moral of that story is not only how wonderful the simple 9-1-1 system is, but that when you are terrified, you forget the simplest and most important information.  I call it "anxiety amnesia."

So... I now have a script posted by the phone in kitchen by the phone. [All my kiddos are now readers]
It says:

Emergency ?  Calll 9 1 1
Stay calm and Say:   I need help.
I live in Crazytown, Maine, at  231 Chaos  Road.
My name is __________________.
I need help because _______________________________.
Answer their questions and DON'T HANG UP!

I put the town first because we have a regional dispatch so that helps them narrow down the area before giving the street address. This is especially helpful if your road name is Oak Street or something that could be in three different towns your 9-1-1 operators cover. I still teach my kiddos what to do, but after my experience with "anxiety amnesia" I feel more confident if they have a script to follow.

Note: clearly all the numbers and addresses here are fake.


  1. This is a priceless tip. I'm going to write our script out today and start practicing with the kids. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome. I hope you never need to use it!