ECMS fifth, sixth graders learn how, when to call 911

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, May 9, 2024

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Escambia County Middle School fifth and sixth graders went home Monday with key tips on how and when to call 911.

Tom Tschida and Nicole Barnes, communications officers with the Atmore Police Department, presented the program, 911 for Kids, in the school cafeteria to an interested bunch of students.

Tschida asked the students why they should call 911 for help. He added that he’s been a dispatcher with the APD for more than seven years, and one of the most common calls is a person dialing 911 and then hanging up.

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Tschida encouraged the students that if they accidentally dial 911, it’s no big deal.

“Stay on the phone and tell the dispatcher it was an accident,” he said. “If we answer the call, stay on the phone.”

Tschida said dispatchers work 12-hour shifts, and call out to different first-responding agencies.

He spoke in depth on what type of calls that need to go through the dispatcher.

“Our whole job is to be the middle person between you and the help you need,” he said.

Tschida said the first question a dispatcher asks the caller is, “what is the location of your emergency?”

Tschida encouraged the students, who will soon be out of school for the summer, to slow down, take a breath and speak clearly to the dispatcher, letting him or her know the emergency.

Types of emergency include a house fire, someone getting injured in a vehicle crash and a person breaking into a residence, among others.

Tschida said any phone can be used to call 911.

“It shoots up into the sky, and goes back down to the Atmore Police Department office,” he said.

Tschida showed the attentive students how to dial 911 via different phones. Additionally, a short video was shown on dialing 911 and why.

“The most important thing it to know your address, and to know where you are,” Tschida said. “We need your help.”

At the end of the program, Tschida answered several questions the students had.