It may not seem like a big deal, but using code words during a 911 phone call can save a life. A recent video shows how a woman called 911 for help while a person threatening her safety was close to her. Both the caller and dispatcher did a great job of communicating with each other without raising suspicions.
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness Teaches Code Words During Emergency Preparedness Training
During our training, we discuss the use of code words for a variety of potentially dangerous situations. If you are under duress and unable to speak due to your location and the proximity of the threatening party, using code words is your best chance for survival.
Dispatch call takers are trained to be alert for signs indicating that the caller does not have the freedom to speak freely and openly. There is no universal code word to use when calling 911, so if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, use these code word techniques:
Have determination in your voice.
Have continued persistence when speaking with the 911 operator.
Use terms such as ‘I know where I’m calling’ or ‘I do have the right number.’
If you get disconnected, call back and say you were cut off by mistake. Insist that you have dialed the correct number.
Teaching Children Code Words
Recently, a ten-year-old girl named Maddison stopped a potential kidnapping by asking for the code word that she had practiced at home with her family. The little girl told Parents, “The man shielded his face while telling Maddison that her brother had “been in a serious accident” and he had been instructed to come pick her up. Maddison immediately asked him what the family’s code word was. When the stranger didn’t know the answer, he blanked and immediately drove away, prompting Maddison to run home immediately and tell her grandmother what had happened.” Luckily, Maddison’s mother taught her the importance of code words and stranger danger, and this helped her avoid getting kidnapped.
New and Enhanced Notification Systems
Currently, emergency dispatch centers across the nation are working on implementing other notification options such as 911 text messaging and Smart 911.
911 Text Messaging
911 text messaging is still in the development stage, and it’s currently not available to all call centers. If you text a 911 center without the messaging function, you will receive a text response indicating the method is not available in your area. It is best to know before an emergency occurs, so there’s no wasting valuable time while trying to contact 911. Your local emergency management agency, police or fire department should know if texting is available in your area.
Smart 911 is an optional, voluntary service. Citizens provide the emergency dispatch center with personal information about location, people living in the residence, pets, and medical conditions before an emergency event occurs. The information is stored and used by dispatchers in emergencies for a faster response. Dispatchers would also know your location when calling from a cell phone, provided you are at the location you shared on your profile.
Before an emergency occurs, it is best to contact your local dispatch center to determine if text messaging or Smart 911 is available in your area. Having code word knowledge can help save a life during an emergency, and our expansive training programs cover the usage of code words in great detail.
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has over 25 years of experience in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. Book active shooter preparedness training, emergency preparedness training, disaster plan creation and review, or site safety and security auditing today: https://www.childhoodpreparedness.org/training.
Don’t Be Scared. Be Prepared.