What should I teach my children about 911?

Many 911 hang-up calls are made by children playing with the telephone. Each time a 911 hang-up call is received, the dispatcher must immediately call back the phone number to determine if there is an emergency. If there is no answer on callback, law enforcement personnel will immediately be dispatched to check the well-being of any persons at the location.

If, on call-back, there is an answer, the dispatcher will question the person (an adult) who answers the phone to determine if an emergency exists. Dispatchers have been trained to "pick up" on any unusual noises or voice inflections to determine if there is a problem at a location without the caller actually advising the dispatcher.

If a child answers the phone on a call-back, the dispatcher will request to speak to an adult to ensure that everything is okay. Some children are too young to understand what we need (give the phone to an adult), so the dispatcher will still send an officer to respond.

We ask that adults do not punish children who call 911 and then hang up, but rather explain to them that 911 should only be used in an emergency. If children are punished for dialing 911, it may scare them from using it in the future, whether they have a legitimate emergency or not. Moore County 911 Communications also is available to do tours for children (and adults) so they are able to have a better understanding of 911 (call 910-947-6317).

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1. Does it have to be an emergency to call 911?
2. Why does the dispatcher ask me so many questions?
3. Can I program my home alarm system to dial 911?
4. What if I don't speak English?
5. What if I can only communicate by Teletype Device for the Deaf (TDD) or Computer?
6. Is my call to 911 confidential?
7. How are 911 call prioritized?
8. What if I accidentally misdial 911?
9. Why is it important to tell where the incident occurred instead of where I’m calling from?
10. What should I teach my children about 911?