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APD Dispatchers Provide 9-1-1 Lessons to Anaheim Children

by Ryan Dedmon

Dispatch Supervisor John Carter talks to children at Orange Grove Elementary School about 9-1-1.

Children at two different local elementary schools were surprised last week when Anaheim Police Dispatchers visited for assembly presentations. 

The assemblies were an end-finale to the month of April, which is “National 9-1-1 Education” month.  Communications Supervisor John Carter, and Dispatchers Maria Munoz and I made special arrangements to visit Orange Grove Elementary and Hansen Elementary to teach children K-6th grades about 9-1-1.

Every day, dispatchers answer several emergency calls.  On average, the Anaheim Police Department answers approximately 400 9-1-1 calls per day.  Approximately 25 percent of all 9-1-1 emergency calls are “abandoned calls,” meaning they are accidentally misdialed hang-ups.  A majority of these calls are made by children 4-10 years old. 

Dispatchers must take the time to trace every abandoned call that is received, which can take them away from helping people with real emergencies.  Time is precious in an emergency communications center.

This year, dispatchers wanted to visit local schools to actively participate in the National 9-1-1 Education month of April.  During the assembly presentations, children watched a short movie called “The Great 9-1-1 Adventure,” which is an educational story about a group of children depicted as puppets, who go on a journey to learn about how 9-1-1 works. 

Anaheim Police dispatchers then spent time talking with the children teaching them the proper use of 9-1-1, showing them how to call 9-1-1, what constitutes an emergency, and the questions a dispatcher will ask on 9-1-1. 

In a letter sent home to the children’s parents, Anaheim Police Communications Manager Kurt Wallace said, “The goal is to teach children abut 9-1-1 so they know when to call; hopefully, this will eliminate false and prank calls in the future that waste valuable time for Dispatchers who need to help other people with real emergencies.” 

Overall, nearly 1,400 children from both schools combined learned first-hand from Emergency Dispatchers about the workings of 9-1-1.  

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