Children must learn to call 911 on cell phones, says Marion Co. sheriff

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 17, 2016) – As more families opt for cell phones over landlines, the Marion County Sheriff says many children don’t know how to call 911 in an emergency.

“About 50 percent of the households in this county, as well as across the nation, don’t even have a landline in their house anymore,” said Marion County Sheriff John Layton. “It’s all cell phones.”

Because many mobile phones default to the locked screen, children may not know how to access those three numbers when needed.

“It comes down to the parents or the adults in the house to take the time,” said Sheriff Layton. “Believe me with these little young minds, if you’ve ever seen the around a computer you know that it doesn’t take long for them to catch on.”

He’s teaching his own grandson how to unlock an iPhone and then dial for an emergency. However, he also says families may need to teach their children how to make the call on more than one device.

“You know, there’s flip phones and Blackberrys and iPhones,” said Sheriff Layton. “So you have to actually have your child your son or your daughter go through it with you a few times, and have them do it.

He says to also practice what to say when Dispatch answers. Children should know their name, and the street they live on.

“The more you can teach your little one, the more information they have when they have to dial 911, the quicker we can get that response there,” said Sheriff Layton. “Hopefully they’ll never have to use it, but they’re proud of themselves if they’re able to if necessary.”

The Marion County Dispatch says 1.8 million calls come in each year. When practicing with your child, the Sheriff says to try not to hit that green button to prevent any false alarms.

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