More than 5,000 calls are made to 911 in King County on a daily basis.
Each year, an estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 in the United States, according to the National Emergency Number Association.
Since 2008, the month of April has been recognized as National 911 Education Month, and the Enhanced 911 (E-911) Program of King County has set out to help children learn the how, when and where of calling 911.
The program’s mascot, Emery the Emergency Penguin, celebrated his birthday on April 7 at George T. Daniel Elementary School in Kent.
Emery first came on the scene four years ago, E-911 Program Manager Kayreen Lum said, but this is the first year the program has thrown a birthday party.
The event was celebrated with first and third grade students.
During Emery’s birthday party, students not only participated in a number of learning activities to help them learn about calling 911 but they also got to meet first responders.
Police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians were on hand to meet the students and show them their vehicles.
“We love seeing them interact with the first responders,” Lum said.
She added children have less fear calling 911 if they have met who may be helping them.
The interactive games and events helped students learn the difference between what is and isn’t an emergency, practice dialing 911, learn about knowing your location among many other important aspects of calling 911 for help.
This was the program’s big event for the month of April but Lum said parents and caregivers can continue to help educate their children all month long.
There are downloadable materials on their website, www.kingcounty.gov/911, as well as information that will be posted on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KingCounty911/) throughout the month.
Not only does this month help teach children the importance of calling for help but “this is (also) a great opportunity for the entire community to refresh their 911 skills,” Lum said in a media release.
Once April ends it doesn’t mean educating children on the importance of calling 911 has to end. In May, a book featuring Emery will be released.
Lum said the book will be available in both public and school libraries across the county.
And come May, educators will be able to reach out to the E-911 program, Lum said, and request a Birthday in a Box to help teach students the how, when and where of calling 911.
The goal of the E-911 program Lum said is to use the month of April to help parents and caregivers teach the basics of dialing 911.