Monday 9 May 2016

Home School - Dialing 999 in an Emergency

Following recent events it is clear to me that I can get myself in situations where I need help.

I don’t think that my disability is at the stage where I need someone around 24/7 and actually think that I am far from it but that doesn’t mean that I am completely and always “safe”.
The events of last week showed me that I need help and although I had my mobile to hand to call for help I was still stuck on the floor and had no way to let anyone in to help me even if I did call for support.

If the boys had been here I know that I would have been able to resolve the issue one way or another; they could have went and got my ELC or, if necessary, let someone in to help me.
Having Muscular Dystrophy always brings new obstacles but one thing that has always seemed to be there is the fact that I twitch and fall over.

Over the last 20 years I have fallen more times than I can count but in all those years I have never needed to call an emergency service for anything serious.
Yes, I have had some ridiculously bad falls. There have been times when I have cut my head open, needed stitches, fallen and badly bruised my face but in each occasion I have always remained conscious.

But, like most things, it only takes that one time.
In many ways, as mentioned above, I could have a situation resolved quicker if I had the boys around to help but what if I fell and became unresponsive, what would happen then?

It is a scary thought that I might be in that situation when I have them here and it does worry me that they might not know how to react in such an emergency.
With this in mind we have been learning how to dial the emergency services.

It's important that children understand that they should use the home phone rather than a mobile for calling 999. The reason is that when people call from a home number the Emergency Services automatically receive the phone number, address and household name of the caller so they are able to trace calls without having to rely on information given to them by the caller; this is particularly useful in the case of a child who is unable to remember or communicate such vital details to the operator.
But what if they are not able to use the house phone for whatever reason? For example, we don’t have a house phone (I know I should get one but everyone reaches me by mobile nowadays so it seems pointless)

In these cases it's important for children to realise they can use a mobile phone if necessary.
Here is what we learnt about calling 999:

How to recognise the number 9 and then how many times that it needs to be dialled.

What buttons to push and then use on the phone to call for help.

Speak clearly for which service you want help from.

Don't be scared about calling 999 as they are there to help you and are used to taking calls from children; they will help and offer their support as you wait for someone to arrive.

Tell them your name and what the problem is.

To help the ambulance or fire service understand where you are and what has happened; for older children an address can be learnt but it is sometimes quicker to learn house number and postcode.

Don't hang up until the operator tells you to; they need to have all the info they need to get to you as quickly as possible. 
That it's also a good idea to make sure they know of other adults nearby they can go to in an emergency; I told William to knock on some different neighbours’ doors.

Children are never too young to be told about the significance of the 999 number but it must be instilled in them that this number must only ever be used in a genuine emergency.
Depending on their age you may need to give your child some solid examples of what constitutes a real emergency because a child's concept of 'emergency' can of course be a very different thing to yours. 

Explain that something like losing a toy or having a fight with your brother is not an emergency and that under no circumstances, even if they have been told to by another person, should they call 999 for a joke or 'just to see what happens'.

William has even made a little video for you!

What do you think? Have you taught your children how to dial 999?

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