Recently, I started thinking that it would be a good idea to start preparing my kids for emergency situations: teach them our phone number, and how to call 9-1-1, and what to do in case a tornado siren or fire alarm goes off.
It took me all of 5 minutes to figure out these three truths:
1. If the children are ever in a situation where they would need to know their phone number, they will likely end up speaking to a random stranger in Bangledesh.
2. If the children are ever in a situation where they need to be returned home by the authorities, those poor police officers are going to find themselves going door to door.
3. If we ever in a situation where our survival depends on the children’s ability to contact emergency personnel, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.
TEACHING THE CHILDREN OUR PHONE NUMBER:
When I was growing up, our phone number had seven digits. Seven. Not ten. Seven. That’s because every person in our entire county all had the same area code. But now, we live in the big city, where the neighbors across the street have a different area code AND zip code than we do. And those three, tiny extra numbers rocky my kids’ world. Add to that, we have no land line, only cell phones for both the hubs and me, and we kept our phone numbers from back home. So even if the kiddos remembered everything except that darn area code, it wouldn’t matter. No one is EVER going to think to try an area code for a city 6 hours away.
TEACHING THE CHILDREN OUR ADDRESS:
Our son cannot consistently remember our house number to save his life. And he can only remember the main part of the street name, never the fact that there’s an EAST in there too. He does know his city, though. So I imagine the scene will play out with the police on the other side of town on the non-East version of our street, knocking on doors looking for us, while the kids beg the officers to take them to Sonic for Happy Hour.
TEACHING THE CHILDREN TO DIAL 9-1-1:
I remember my mother teaching me how to call 911 if there was ever an emergency. The steps were simple.
1. Pick up the phone.
2. Dial 9-1-1.
3. Tell the nice person who picked up the phone what the problem was.
Did I mention that we don’t have a land line? So here are the steps for my son to learn:
1. Find a cell phone. (Good luck with that.)
2. Push the power button to turn the phone on.
3. If it won’t turn on, hold the power button down and count to 10.
4. Swipe the screen to unlock it.
5. Get back to the home screen, since we know that the phone probably got left on Facebook.
6. Find the telephone icon, and touch it.
7. Find the icon for the dial pad, and touch it.
8. Dial 9-1-1.
9. If you accidentally hit a wrong button, find the backspace icon, and touch it until the wrong numbers are erased.
10. Make sure the screen reads 9-1-1.
11. Find the send icon, and touch it.
12. Hold the phone up to your face, but make sure that your cheek doesn’t hit the screen.
13. If your face hits the screen and disconnects your call, start back over with step 5.
14. Tell the nice person who finally answers the phone what the problem is.
15. Tell the nice person your address, too, since it won’t automatically show up since you’re calling from a cell phone. Try to remember the word EAST when you tell her our street name.