Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School Preparations: Know Your Location

As students prepare to return for the new school year, now is a good time to remind them how important it is to always know your location. Many students carry cell phones now and can assume that when they call 9-1-1, the dispatcher will know their location and can send help immediately. Unfortunately, that is not the case and dispatchers need citizens to know where they are calling from in the event of an emergency. This way, they can dispatch help to the correct location.

Here are a few tips to remember when teaching your kids about knowing your location when calling 9-1-1:

·         Make sure they have their home address memorized. Even if they just learn the street name, it can help!
·         If your children are somewhere besides their own home, teach them how to look for identifying landmarks such as schools, stores, or office buildings that can help pinpoint their location.

·         Teach your children how to read street signs so they can tell 9-1-1 the names of cross streets where they are located. Tell them to be aware of their surroundings so they can explain if they are near a busy intersection or in a more secluded area. (Telling a 9-1-1 dispatcher a mile marker location helps too!)

Students will have a lot on their minds when they head back to school. But if you can help assist them in reminding them of these key tips to help in an event of an emergency, then it could end up saving their lives or someone else. It is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings and to stay alert. Let’s help keep our children safe and remember to Know Your Location. If you or someone you know is ever in an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
Here is a great video created by Washington State on Knowing Your Location:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Public Education: Be Creative on a Budget

Many public educators have had to deal with budget cuts or constraints to their public education program recently, but that doesn’t mean public education efforts have to suffer. It just means public educators must work harder to be creative and focus on avenues that are cost-effective, reach the most amounts of people and create a positive impact on the community.

Even Cell Phone Sally has had to come up with her own ways to provide public education services to public educators and the public alike. Hopefully, by sharing some of our cost-saving measure ideas, it can give you thoughts or inspiration for how to maximize your very own public education program.

Activity Sheets
Through the website, Cell Phone Sally provides free activity sheets that anyone can use for their public education program. Not only is there 10 different activity sheets in English, but there are also 3 activity sheets in Spanish. Many of these activity sheets come from the Cell Phone Sally classroom kit. Why not download some of these today and use them for your classroom visits or conference booths. Kids love to color and learn at the same time so this is a great resource. Click here to find a list of all the available activity sheets:

Public Service Announcements don’t have to cost a lot of money nor do they have to be created on a fancy video camera anymore. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you could easily record a PSA on your phone and download it online and share with your community. CSEC recently partnered with the Student Television Network and had middle school and high school students create PSAs on 9-1-1 topics. Six of those PSAs have been posted on the Cell Phone Sally YouTube site. Feel free to share or just view for inspiration! More PSAs will be posted throughout the year, so come back regularly to check them out. Here is a link to the most recently posted PSAs:

Cell Phone Sally Videos and Songs
Why not utilize videos and songs created by Cell Phone Sally for your public education program? CSEC recently made the CPS video 9-1-1: Getting Help is Easy available for free online in both Spanish and English. The Cell Phone Sally songs are also available in both English and Spanish. Check them out here:  Also, if you go to the CPS YouTube site, you can also find the videos there and embed them onto your own site. (

Social Media
Social media is the quickest and easiest way to get your public education message out to the public. Whether you choose to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a blog site or Google+, there are multiple avenues for getting your message out and making a difference in 9-1-1 public education. Need some inspiration or ideas on what you can do with your social media sites? Check out links to Cell Phone Sally’s social media sites as well as the National Public Educator Forum social media sites.

Cell Phone Sally Social Media Site Links Found Here:

NPEF Social Media Sites:

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Public education is a vital part of making sure our society runs successfully. Why don’t you start making a difference today? For more information or any questions on 9-1-1 public education, please contact

Monday, August 12, 2013

Recent Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in the United States

There has been a recent outbreak of a cyclosporiasis infection in the United States that consumers should be aware of to protect their health. The Center for Disease Control currently knows of 466 cases reported throughout the following states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York (including New York City), Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Cyclosporiasis infections have been linked to pre-packaged salad mixes. While this infection has not caused any deaths, it has caused 27 hospitalizations.  The CDC says it is not yet clear whether all the cases in various states came from the same outbreak. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually one week. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and fatigue.  It should be noted that some individuals who become infected might not have any symptoms at all.
If the infection is not treated, symptoms could last anywhere from a few days to a month or more. It is also very common to feel tired. If you think you might have been infected with cyclosporiasis, please contact your physician for treatment. If you are infected, your physician will be able to treat the infection with antibiotics. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids if infected as well, because this will help flush out your system.

For more information on this outbreak, please visit the CDC website here: Remember to always take care of your health.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Catchy 9-1-1 Jingles Boost Public Education Outreach

Catchy 9-1-1 songs have shown in the past that they can make an impact on the public by helping them learn the proper use of 9-1-1 as well as making learning about 9-1-1 services fun. Kids love them and parents and educators enjoy sharing them. Songs are a great way to educate the public because who doesn’t love a fun catchy tune that gets stuck in your head and makes you want to move about? Some examples of previous 9-1-1 songs include Everyday Heroes by Dave Carroll and 9-1-1 Getting Help is Easy by Trish Murphy.

The Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC) recently reached out to two different song writers/producers and provided them with a list of 9-1-1 topics. These 9-1-1 topics are issues that public educators in emergency services address everyday including pocket dials, texting to 9-1-1, knowing your location and when to call 9-1-1. Both song writers took these topics and each created their own songs. The only direction CSEC provided was the 9-1-1 topics and guidance on the type of song it be such as whether it was a reggae, jazzy or rock version.  
“This is the first time I was aware of how great the need to improve people’s understanding of the use of emergency communications, so once I caught the vision of that, the song seemed to come pretty naturally,” song-writer Barry Bynum said. “I have always held that music is a great vehicle for teaching and imparting wisdom.”  

Both songwriters were pumped and intrigued to provide CSEC with 9-1-1 tunes and the results were impressive, catchy and fun! After some public educators heard the end results of each song, they had the tunes stuck in their heads all day. This just goes to show how these songs can make an impact and can help teach children and adults alike the proper use of 9-1-1 services. Two music genres were created, one reggae  and the other an upbeat rock tone. They both can be utilized in classrooms, conferences and wherever public education is needed. They are great for posting on your public education websites too!
Below we have provided links to the 30 second versions of each song. Check them out and get inspired. You can easily create 9-1-1 songs too that can make an impact in your area. For more information on creating 9-1-1 songs, please contact Melinda Crockom at Please share with us your favorite 9-1-1 jingle!

Click here to view the songs!