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Program Lesson Plan

Helpful Hints for Your Classroom Presentation

  • If you are not the classroom teacher, ask him or her to stay in the room during the presentation. You may want to ask for their assistance in running the program.
  • It is helpful to know what technique the teacher uses to quiet the children – whether it’s holding up fingers, ringing a bell or clapping, etc. so that you can get their attention if the room gets too noisy.
  • Ask the class to put on their "listening caps" and pay close attention so that they can answer some easy questions at the end of the presentation.
  • Explain that there will be a reward for good listening and good behavior. Be sure to follow through with the materials included in your classroom kit.
  • Encourage children to raise their hands to volunteer to answer questions or give comments.
  • Always praise good behavior.
  • If a child is not cooperative, you may ask them to sit near the teacher or move to a quiet area away from the other children.

What You will need

  • Approximately 30 minutes is needed to show the tape and answer questions. Allow 10 to 15 minutes more for follow-up activities or additional questions.
  • A television monitor and VCR
  • The Great 9-1-1 Adventure™ video
  • 9-1-1 for Kids® Classroom Kit


  • Push pins or tape to hang the "I’m Ready" classroom poster
  • Any additional handouts or materials to support your presentation
  • Enough writing and coloring materials such as markers, pens, crayons, etc. for the entire classroom


Step 1 Hang up the "I’m Ready" classroom poster and tell the children that they are about to meet a 9-1-1 Superhero, in a very special video that will teach them about 9-1-1.

Step 2 Ask the class to be "good listeners" and to be ready to answer some easy questions at the end of the video. Tell them that good behavior will be rewarded with a special gift.

Step 3 Show The Great 9-1-1 Adventure™ video.

Step 4 After the video presentation, review the basics of calling 9-1-1 by asking children questions such as:

Who can tell me WHEN you should call 9-1-1?

  • In an emergency
  • When you need help
  • When you need the police, fire department or an ambulance If there were no grown-ups around and you had to call 9-1-1, who can tell me HOW you would do it?
  • Stay calm.
  • Listen for dial tone.
  • On a push button phone push "9" then "1" then "1" again.
  • For Rotary phones, dial "9" then "1" then "1" again. Who can tell me WHAT to say when the 9-1-1 dispatcher answers?
  • Explain what’s wrong - what type of an emergency it is.
  • Explain what type of help you need – fire, police, ambulance.
  • Explain where help is needed.
  • Give your name and address loudly and clearly.
  • Answer all questions that are asked of you. Who can tell me what NOT to do when you call 9-1-1?
  • Do not nod your head. Instead, answer "yes" or "no" out loud.
  • Do not hang up until the dispatcher says it’s ok to do so.

When should you NOT call 9-1-1?

  • When there is no emergency
  • For animals
  • As a game or prank
  • As a joke
  • To practice

Step 5 Reward children with their "I’m a 9-1-1 Hero™’’ stickers that are included in the classroom kit (or you can put them on their shirts).

Step 6 Hold up the Emergency Phone Number Card that is included in the classroom kit. Instruct the children that it is important that they ask their parents to please complete the card at home and keep it next to the telephone.

Note: You will want to make arrangements with the teacher in advance to discuss when to hand out the phone cards and other materials. The teacher may prefer to pass out all the take-home materials at the end of the day.

step 7 Allow for questions from the children — especially those that deal with determining what is a real emergency.

step 8 The 9-1-1 for Kids® Classroom Kit lesson plan has now been completed. The following pages include ideas and activities to reinforce the 9-1-1 message.

After the Video...Fun things to Do with Kids

  • Use the materials provided in your 9-1-1 for Kids® Classroom Kit.
  • Gather some "play" rotary dial and push button phones and have the kids take turns to practice dialing 9-1-1.
  • Play "The 9-1-1 Quiz Show' in your classroom using a list of "emergency" and "non-emergency" situations and pictures below.
  • Make a mural about 9-1-1 with emergency response vehicles. Hang it in the classroom or the library or cafeteria.
  • Set up "a pretend" 9-1-1 dispatch center. Allow the kids to take turns playing the 9-1-1 dispatcher and the 9-1-1 caller.
  • Help children distinguish between "9"and "6" on the telephone pad using the picture of "buttons," the push button phone. To help them remember the difference they can recite "Six Sits Down and Nine Stands Up!"
  • Encourage children to learn their addresses. Make flash cards with the child’s name on one side and their address on the other. Hold up the card with the child’s name facing the classroom and see who can recite their address correctly.
  • Arrange a field trip to see the 9-1-1 communications center, the police department or the fire department.
  • Have students construct emergency vehicles out of large cardboard boxes and encourage them to act out an emergency situation where the children in the boxes "respond" to the "callers" who use play phones to make the call.
  • Have the children draw a picture of what they learned from the 9-1-1 video and color it. Hang up their drawings in the classroom or send them to the nearest 9-1-1 communications center.

Make Up Your own 9-1-1 Quiz Show

A "9-1-1 Quiz" show is a fun, interactive way for children to learn when to call and when not to call 9-1-1. Below are several emergency and non-emergency situations you can use to help children decide when it’s the right time to call 9-1-1.

Situation Call 9-1-1:
Yes or No
1) Your friend falls out of a tree and is hurt badly Y N
2) You see a stranger lurking around your house Y N
3) You are home alone and you are bored and lonely Y N
4) Your neighbor’s house is on fire Y N
5) You see a car accident where someone is hurt Y N
6) You have an argument with your best friend Y N
7) Your dog is limping Y N
8) You see someone breaking into a neighbor’s house. Y N
9) There is a fire in your fireplace Y N

    Answers: 1) Y, 2) Y, 3) N, 4) Y, 5) Y, 6) N, 7) N, 8) Y, 9) N

What Should You Do?

The following scenarios have been designed for children ages 6 to 8 and may not be appropriate for 4 to 5 year-olds. Please use your discretion. Read each of the "real life" situations below and discuss the best way to handle it.

Burglary or ROBBERY

You come home from school and notice that the door is open. You know that your parents are not home, and you suspect that someone has broken in. What should you do?

  • Do not go inside. The person who broke in may still be there. Instead go to a neighbor and tell him or her what you saw.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the police or sheriff’s department.
  • While the police are on their way, NOTE any unfamiliar vehicles parked nearby. Write down the descriptions and the numbers and letters that appear on their license plate.

Followed by a Stranger

While walking home from school you notice that you are being followed by a stranger. Something about him makes you very uncomfortable.

What should you do?

  • Look for the nearest house with an adult at home – look for an open garage or kids playing outside.
  • Tell the adult that someone is following you and ask him or her to call the police, the sheriff’s department or 9-1-1.
  • Give the officer a description of the stranger, including age, height, weight, and color of hair and eyes. Also mention any unusual articles of clothing you may have noticed. Head Injury While playing at the playground your friend falls from the swing and hits his head on the ground and is knocked unconscious. What should you do?
  • Ask someone on the playground to please call 9-1-1.
  • Loosen any clothing around your friend’s neck if you can do so without moving him.
  • Cover him with a blanket, beach towel or jacket.
  • If his head is bleeding, place a sterile bandage or clean, folded handkerchief on the wound.
  • Gently apply pressure to stop the bleeding if you can do so without moving him.
  • When your friend regains consciousness, keep him lying down and quiet until help arrives.

Note: Head injuries should always be taken seriously whether the person is unconscious or not. If your friend feels dizzy, has headaches, is nauseated or bleeding from the mouth or nose, he should be examined thoroughly by a doctor as soon as possible.


Your friend is eating peanuts at your house. When a nut gets caught in her throat, she begins to choke. What should you do?

When the windpipe is blocked, a person cannot speak and will remain conscious for only a few minutes. You need to ask yes-or-no questions which can be answered by a nod or shake of the head, and you need to act quickly. If there are no adults around, you should call 9-1-1 immediately.

While you are waiting for help, tell your friend to lie face down over a chair with her head lower than her body. If this change of position does not help your friend dislodge the nut, follow these simple steps:

  1. Tell your friend to sit in a straight-back chair.

  2. Stand behind your friend and bring your arms around her chest.

  3. Make a fist with one hand and cover the fist with your other hand.

  4. By pulling on your one fist with your other hand, apply pressure just above your friend’s belly button to force air up through the closed windpipe, thereby dislodging the peanut.

Enlarge these pictures and make flash cards to be used in "The 9-1-1 Quiz Show."

Background Information on 9-1-1 for Presenters To assist you in making an effective 9-1-1 presentation, we provide the following most commonly asked questions about 9-1-1:

What is 9-1-1?

Nine-one-one is the number to call to get help in a police, fire or medical emergency. A 9-1-1 call is transmitted over dedicated phone lines to the 9-1-1 answering point closest to the caller. Trained personnel then send emergency help as needed.

What is Enhanced 9-1-1?

Enhanced 9-1-1 is a system which routes an emergency call to the 9-1-1 answering center closest to the caller and automatically displays the caller’s telephone number. Advanced systems can also display the caller’s address. The 9-1-1 call taker will ask the caller to verify the information that appears on his/her computer screen. Location information is not yet available for calls made from cellular phones or when rural callers have only a route and box number for an address.

Who pays for 9-1-1?

Each household or business pays a small monthly fee for 9-1-1 service on each telephone line which appears on their phone bill. There is no charge for making a 9-1-1 call, however, EMS/ ambulances dispatched through 9-1-1 may charge for taking someone to a hospital. This is a separate ambulance charge, not a 9-1-1 charge.

When should you use 9-1-1?

Nine-one-one is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation which requires immediate response from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt, call 9-1-1. It’s best to be safe and let the call taker determine if it’s an emergency.

Do NOT call 9-1-1:

  • For information
  • For directions
  • For directory assistance
  • For paying tickets
  • For your pet
  • As a prank
  • When you’re bored and just want to talk

If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so that he/she knows that there is no emergency.

What about Prank 9-1-1 calls? 

A prank call is when someone calls 9-1-1 for a joke, or calls 9-1-1 and hangs up. Prank calls not only waste time and money, but they can also be dangerous. If 9-1-1 lines or 9-1-1 call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. In some communities, it is considered illegal to make prank 9-1-1 calls. 

How do you make a 9-1-1 call?

Dial 9, then 1 and 1 again. It is a free call. You can use any kind of phone — push button, rotary, cellular, cordless or pay phones (some pay phones may require coins to get a dial tone).

  • Stay calm and state your emergency
  • Speak loudly and clearly. Give the 9-1-1 call taker your name, address and phone number where help is needed.
  • Answer the call takers questions. Stay on the telephone if it is safe to do so, and do not hang up until the call taker tells you to do so. 

What if a 9-1-1 caller does not speak English?

When necessary, the 9-1-1 call taker can often add an interpreter or other language line service for translation. A non-English speaking caller may hear a short conversation in English and some clicking sounds as an interpreter is added to the 9-1-1 call.

What if a 9-1-1 caller is hearing or speech impaired?

Communication centers which answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones for responding to 9-1-1 calls from hearing or speech impaired callers.

If a caller uses TTY/TDD, the caller should:

  • Stay calm, place the phone receiver into the TTY, call 9-1-1.
  • After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
  • Give the call taker time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the keys of the TTY again. The 9-1-1 call taker will answer and type a "GA."
  • Tell what is needed — police, fire department or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and address where help is needed.
  • Stay on the telephone if it is safe to do so. Answer the call taker’s questions. If a hearing or speech impaired caller does not have a TTY/TDD, the caller should:
  • Call 9-1-1 and do not hang up. By not disconnecting leaves the line open. With most 9-1-1 calls, the caller’s address is displayed on the call taker’s screen and the police will be sent.

Wireless PHONE’s

With the increase in availablity of wireless telephones, 9-1-1 For Kids’® felt it was imperative to address wireless technology issues. Due to the rapidly changing technology, there are no standard set of instructions that can be applied uniformly to all models of wireless telephones. Please review this section carefully before presenting it to your students/audience. Please pay special attention to the information in the section highlited"Notes." In addition, the "Emergency Telephone Card" in your 9-1-1 for Kids® Classroom Kit highlights important points to be shared with children and their parents.

As in the basic 9-1-1 instruction, we emphasize that children should be cautioned NOT TO PLAY WITH THE PHONE, practice dialing or make prank calls to 9-1-1. This is especially true with wireless phones for the following reasons:

  • Some telephones will automatically dial 9-1-1 if a programmed key is depressed.
  • The number of wireless 9-1-1 calls recieved often exceeds the resources of public safety answering points.
  • The 9-1-1 system is for emergencies only.


NOTE: Wireless telephone handsets and procedures for making a call differ between models and manufactures. It is strongly suggested that children be instructed to discuss with their parents how to dial 9-1-1 calls from the wireless telephone they own or use. Children should be made aware of special function keys or speed dial features and all steps involved in making a 9-1-1 call.

LISTEN CAREFULLY: It is important to listen carefully, then speak loudly and clearly to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. If you receive a busy signal, hang up and call 9-1-1 again. If you hear a recorded message, DO NOT HANG UP. STAY ON THE PHONE UNTIL THE REAL OPERATOR ANSWERS.

NOTE: Children should be advised to listen carefully to what happens after they dial. Due to the number of calls received from wireless telephones, 9-1-1 calls sometimes get a busy signal or a recorded message before the call is answered by a live operator. Presenters should explain to children what to do if this occurs. For younger children, presenters may want to demonstrate the sound of a busy signal and give examples of the recorded message they might hear. One example of a recorded message is: "You have reached 9-1-1 emergency services. All operators are busy taking calls. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered by the first available call taker." It is critical that children understand that if they hang up when they hear the recording and then redial, their call will go to the end of the waiting queue. 


  1. Explain what is wrong-what type of emergency it is (i.e. fire, injury, accident, crime in progress).
  2. Explain what type of help you need-fire, police, ambulance.
  3. Explain where help is needed- location of the emergency.
  4. Give your name and telephone number so that the operator call call back if your call is disconnected. You may be asked to give you home address for reporting purposes.


  1. Look for street names, big signs, or buildings you know.
  2. Tell the dispatcher where you were coming from, where you are now and where you were going to (i.e. we left home to go to grandma’s house).
  3. Tell the dispatcher if you are in a car, walking, or riding a bike, in a store, etc.

If you accidentally call 911:

  2. Stay on the telephone until the dispatcher answers.
  3. Explain that you accidentally called 9-1-1 and there is no emergency.
  4. You will not be in trouble if you accidentally call 9-1-1. DO NOT hang up.

NOTE: As a matter of policy, if the 9-1-1 center receives the call back number on disconnect, an operator will attempt to call back to determine if there is a true emergency. Stress to the children that it is better to stay on the phone and tell the operator that they accidentally called 9-1-1. Eliminating the need for call back saves valuable call taker time for other emergency calls.


Children should be cautioned in the strongest terms against playing with wireless phones.

NOTE: Current statistics indicate that greater than 50% or more of all 9-1-1 calls made from wireless phones are accidentally dialed or are non-emergency in nature. Accidentally dialed 9-1-1 calls, particularly from certain models of wireless phones, have become a huge problem for 9-1-1 communication centers. In fact, one handset model will automatically dial 9-1-1 if the "9" key is depressed for more than two seconds. These calls are generated without pressing the send key. Anyone playing with the key pad or even hesitating while dialing a number that starts with a "9" can make an unintentional 9-1-1 call. Other models have preprogrammed emergency buttons that can also be activated accidentally.

When a 9-1-1 center receives the caller identification with these calls, they attempt a call back to determine if there is an emergency. Answering these inadvertant calls and making the necessary calls back take valuable time that could keep operators from being available for true emergency calls.

Endorsed By

•  9-1-1 for Kids® • Address: 14340 Bolsa Chica Road, Unit C, Westminster, CA 92683 •
Office: (714) 894-5450 / Facsimile: (714) 333-4911 Contact Us: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

2001 © 9-1-1 for Kids®.  All rights reserved. Red E. Fox, Whirley, Buttons, Jennifer, Linda, Jeffrey, Bud and Wally Weasel are trademarks of 9-1-1 for Kids®
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