First grade students from Alta and Aurelia recently learned how to properly use the emergency 9-1-1 telephone system through a new program implemented by the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department.
Alta Kiwanis President Steve Jimmerson became aware of the program while at a regional Kiwanis meeting in Nebraska earlier this year. The program is being used in Nebraska schools. Jimmerson was impressed by the program and checked into it more before talking about it to Sheriff Launderville.
Launderville was equally interested, and the Sheriff's Department invested $700 in the program. They received coloring booklets, two phones - one for students to dial 911 and the other for someone to use as a 911 dispatcher and a DVD that shares a story with such characters as "Cell Phone Sally", "Landline Larry" and "Payphone Patty" on the proper ways to call 911. The reason for practicing is so that children will not be afraid to call the emergency line in an actual emergency.
Here are the instructions the students learned at the program : Know your name and address; stay calm, and speak slowly, loudly and clearly, so the dispatcher can hear all of the information; and stay on the line until the 911 dispatcher says it is okay to hang up.
"If you fall and scrape your knee or if your dog escapes, those aren't reasons to call 911. Calling 911 is not a game," the officers said. Sandy Hoyt,a 20-year communication center employee, also took part in the mock 911 calls.
"This was a maiden voyage," said Sheriff Launderville. Any school interested in taking part in the program can contact the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department at 712- 749-2530.