Richland County dispatchers teach kids how to call 911

Officials with Richland County 911 are working to educate kids on what to do in an emergency.

Posted: May 7, 2019 6:22 PM

RICHLAND COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - Braxton Stevenson is six years old. Like many of his classmates, he has never had to call 911. But dispatchers in Richland county want them to be ready.

Richland County 911 system manager Juanita Kramer says, "They pick up more information then we give them credit for. And I don't think that you can put this information into their minds too early. You never know when they might need it."

During Tuesday's presentation, students learned the do's and don'ts when calling 911. Then they put their skills to the test by practicing with a dispatcher.

Richland County 911 telecommunicator Felicia Nohren explains, "Children seem to be more shy, more reserved. Especially speaking to a stranger on the other end of the phone. So sometimes we have to ask them questions to pull out the information we need."

Getting the right answer could take precious seconds in an emergency. The department talked with students about what information to give and when to call 911. All in hopes of getting kids more relaxed around the stranger on the other end of the line.

Kramer says, "We're the team behind the scene that nobody ever sees and it gives us a chance to interact with the children and also the telecommunicators. It gives them a chance to work with children."

For six-year-old Braxton Stevenson, well he's already become an expert.

Stevenson explains, "Like if it's an accident, don't hang up just go ahead and talk to them. Like said it's an accident and I didn't mean to call."

All in hopes of getting kids ready in case of an emergency.

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