Teaching your kids to call for help

Do your children know what to do in the event of an emergency? Do they know how to call for help?

When my eldest son was four he went to visit a fire station with his class and I was struck by how impressed he was with it all. Of course little boys would be in awe of such an event. But I was even more impressed when he told me how the fireman had told him what the emergency numbers were.  But at the same time realized how I’d omitted to teach him that myself. I probably thought he wasn’t old enough to absorb that information – but he clearly was! So how do you go about teaching your child about emergency situations?

  • Explain what an emergency situation is and the most ideal way to do that is by giving examples, like fire, flooding, stranger danger or finding that a family member or friend cannot breathe or is unconscious, etc.
  • Then you need to tell them who will be responding like a fireman, policeman, nurse or paramedic. Explain to your child that the operators on the line will typically know who to send in the event of an emergency.
  • Finally, you need to teach them how to go about getting that help and attention. For example, using the phone, panic button or going over to a trusted neighbour to ask for help. Write the information down or get flyers from estate agents and put them up on your fridge because they typically have emergency contact information on them. Get the number of your local police station and make sure this is available for the entire family to see.
  • Jason Mordecai 7Arrows Security MD says it is important to practice. “Show your child the steps to press a panic button and dial on your phone for emergency services as many times as it takes until they know and remember the steps without you showing them.”

But the key is to have such devices readily available for your children to use. Jason Mordecai 7Arrows Security MD says: “In many of our homes a panic button is available and therefore teaching your children to press such a device can be a lifesaving lesson.”

He adds: “The benefit of a panic button means young children who don’t yet know their address can be taught to press a linked panic button and have a signal received by a security company knowing exactly where they are without having to tell them this verbally.”

*Emergency numbers:
General emergency (from a landline): 107
General emergency (from a cell phone): 112
Police (Flying Squad): 10111
Ambulance ER 24: 10177
Ambulance (Government): 82911
Ambulance (Netcare): 082911

*Do not forget to add other vital numbers such as your local police department, SPCA, Neighbourhood Watch and your security company contact details.




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