Friday, April 25, 2014

9-1-1 Public Education Efforts Showcased in April

9-1-1 education is alive and well. Throughout the country, educators have been working hard to show appreciation to telecommunicators as well as educate the public on the importance of emergency services and how they work most efficiently.

To wrap up 9-1-1 education month we compiled some helpful reminders and tips on utilizing these important emergency services:

·         9-1-1 is only for emergencies. Do not call 9-1-1 as a prank or a joke.

·         If you call 9-1-1, please do not hang up. Explain to the call-taker that you accidentally dialed 9-1-1.

·         Remember to stay calm and speak clearly.

·         Always stay on the line until you are told by the call-taker that it is ok to hang up.

·         If you have a child or children, teach them to know their first and last name, their parent’s names, their home address and phone number. It is a good idea to keep this information close to a landline phone.

·         If Text to 9-1-1 is available in your area, please remember to call if you can and text if you can’t.

·         Do not let children play with your phone unsupervised. Try and reduce accidental 9-1-1 calls.

We also want to share with you a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video we created this month in honor of 9-1-1 Public Education Month. We encourage you to create your very own PSA too! Here is how we made ours: CPS costume: Check, Video Camera: Check, 9-1-1 song: Check and iMovie editing: Check! Please share your PSA with Cell Phone Sally and we will showcase it on YouTube and other CPS social media sites.  


Here are some great articles on 9-1-1 Public Education Month:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Participate in America's PrepAthon!

FEMA wants you to be prepared for any natural disaster that could occur in or near your home. That's why they created America's PrepAthon- an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions, and exercises.

The first National Day of Action is scheduled for April 30, 2014 and will revolve around taking the actions to prepare for these four specific hazards:
By registering your participation in the National Day of Action, you are helping build a stronger nation that is better prepared to handle natural disasters. Through this site, you can learn the risks of each of these natural disasters and what you can do to better prepare yourself. You can also learn the actions to take in order for you and your family to be prepared to handle any emergency that comes your way.

Different resources available through the FEMA website include:

  • How To Guides
  • Preparedness Playbooks
  • Promotional Materials
  • Events Calendar
  • Discussion Groups and more!
When it comes to natural disasters, you can never be too prepared so make sure your family is ready! What are you waiting for? Register today and be prepared for tomorrow!

Register here:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Appreciation Week 2014

Every year, the second full week of April (April 13th-19th, 2014) is recognized as a time to honor hard-working telecommunicators across the United States. Telecommunicators are individuals who work for an emergency service provider (usually 9-1-1) and are qualified to answer incoming emergency telephone calls and provide for the appropriate emergency response. These individuals have a tough job where they work with the public in high stress situations to get help to those in need. This special week in April is the community’s opportunity to learn about all they do and gives us all a chance to say “Thank you for doing what you do”.

If you have ever dialed 9-1-1 to get help in an accident or an emergency, then a telecommunicator has been on the phone to collect your information and get you help. A person who is a telecommunicator must be patient, strong, understanding and work well under intense pressure or stressful situations.  During this week agencies, elected officials and citizens are honoring 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers for their efforts in making emergency services effective and efficient. 

Back in 1990, Congress designated this week to recognizing telecommunicators and we ask that you do the same! If you see a telecommunicator or you know someone who works as a call-taker or dispatcher, reach out to them and take the time to let them know that they are appreciated for all the time and effort they put into making 9-1-1 what it is today.

Attached is a proclamation from Texas Governor Rick Perry recognizing and honoring telecommunicators this week. We ask that you do the same and share your stories with us on how you appreciated your call-takers and dispatchers. 

Below are a few activities going on during the next week:

Panhandle Regional Planning Commission: 9-1-1 workshop for public educators on 9-1-1 public education, budgets, knowing your audience, how to get help, National TC week and 9-1-1 Education Month. 

Tarrant County 9-1-1 District, Denco Area 9-1-1 District, City of Dallas, and NCTCOG: These 9-1-1 Texas entities are all participating in a 9-1-1 Public Awareness media campaign for the month of April.  The message will be featured in several different mediums including billboards and commercials.

Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network: Throughout the month of April, the community will be informed about two important messages on the radio and at area wide cinemas. The ‘Help 9-1-1 Help You’ commercial will be shown during the month of April for “National 9-1-1 Education Month,” at various movie theaters. GHC 9-1-1 partnered with the following agencies to offer the movie theater public awareness campaign: Brazos County 9-1-1 District and Galveston County 9-1-1 District.
Also, a relatively new, free service is available to Harris and Ft. Bend county residents who want wireless phone alerts about emergencies in their immediate area. But the service is NOT automatic—residents MUST sign up at A commercial spreads the word about this very beneficial service.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Meet Our April Public Educator of the Month, Andrea Wilson

As a new initiative in Texas, to help inspire educators to provide the best educational efforts they can, we started honoring a 9-1-1 public educator of the month. Public educators often do so much work behind the scenes and don’t always get recognized for their amazing efforts. Not only do we recognize the educator with a fancy certificate, but we also showcase them in the Cell Phone Sally blog. We hope through this new initiative, other educators will get inspired and get new ideas on how they can take their educational program to the next level!

Andrea Wilson is our April Public Educator of the Month! She currently works for Montgomery County Emergency Communication District which is near Houston, Texas. We decided to recognize Andrea due to her extensive efforts to utilize simulators in teaching public education. (Simulators that she was able to rent out at no cost to her agency might I add!) Congratulations Andrea on a job well done!

Here is a little bit more about Andrea in her words:

  1. How long have you been working with 9-1-1? 18 months. Prior to working with 9-1-1, I was in education for 17 years as a teacher and administration. 
  2. What is your favorite part of being a 9-1-1 public educator? Working in the community talking about 9-1-1 and working with groups through The National Emergency Number Association. 
  3. What do you think is the biggest challenge the 9-1-1 community faces currently? Citizens misunderstanding when they place a wireless emergency call, even though they have GPS capability, they expect we know where they are located. 
  4. What is your favorite 9-1-1 slogan? Lock it when it's in your pocket! The amount of calls received on a daily basis due to accidentally dialing 9-1-1 can be decreased when citizens lock their screens. 
  5. What is your dream vacation? I love to travel so it's hard for me to pick one. An African Safari, India since it's such a culturally diverse country and Thailand are a few. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Marks 9-1-1 Public Education Month and Telecommunicator’s Week!

April is a big month for 9-1-1. Not only do 9-1-1 educators have the opportunity to spread emergency services information all month long, but they also have the opportunity to show major appreciation to telecommunicators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week  (April 13-19, 2014).

For those of you who do not know, telecommunicators are individuals who work for an emergency service provider (usually 9-1-1) and are qualified to answer incoming emergency telephone calls and provide for the appropriate emergency response. They work hard each and every day to make sure citizens get the best emergency services and they are a very important part of the community!

In 1991, Congress recognized their efforts and created a week distinguishing who they are and the importance the play in our society. Then, in 2008, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to increase national awareness about the importance and appropriate use of 9-1-1. By creating a month dedicated to 9-1-1 education, Congress is able to encourage annual public awareness events, public advertising campaigns, target outreach activities and provide training for parents and teachers.
Below, we have compiled some important messages and current issues that the public should be more aware of so that they can get the most out of 9-1-1 services.

Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t: Many have the misconception that you can text 9-1-1 for help. We can do everything else through text, so why not contact 9-1-1 this way too? Unfortunately that is not the case. Luckily, many agencies are working hard to make this available across the United States. But for now, this is only available in a very small percentage of the country. So if you see a sign or information in your region promoting that you can text to 9-1-1, then go for it. But if you do not, then please assume you can’t text to 9-1-1 and please call if you need help. 
Know Your Location: Many people have smart phones these days. And on these smart phones we have maps that show us where we are, so it doesn’t seem farfetched to think that if we have GPS in our phone, then 9-1-1 should be able to find us when we call. This is actually not the case. When you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone/smart phone, dispatchers are only able to see approximately where you are and not specifically where you are located. So, remember to be aware and know your location. Look for mile markers, landmarks, cross streets and addresses on buildings. This information could save your life!

Stay Calm and Ready to Listen: When we call 9-1-1, it is usually for an emergency and this can be a stressful situation. But it is imperative that you stay calm and listen to the call-taker’s questions so that they can properly help you. A lot of people get confused when the call-taker is asking a lot of questions and all they need is help RIGHT THEN. Trust us- the call-taker gets it and the reason they are asking questions is so that they can help you to the best of their ability.
As always, do not forget that 9-1-1 is for emergency use only and should never be abused or used for fun. It helps save lives and is an important tool in helping our society to get the aid they need. Call 9-1-1 when you or someone else’s life is in danger, or if there is a crime or fire occurring.

For additional resources on National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week: