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  Ott Cribbs
Public Safety Center

620 W Division St
P.O. Box 1065
Arlington, TX 76004-1065

Phone: 817-459-5700

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Children's Programs

Emergency Calls to 9-1-1

Bicycle Safety Education

Home Alone?

"Stranger Danger"

ę Emergency Calls to 9-1-1

In Arlington, 9-1-1 is the all-purpose emergency number. It is not the number to dial just for practice, to "see if it works," for information, or as a joke or game.

Ask an adult to teach you how to use all types of telephones to dial 9-1-1: rotary, push button, cell and pay phones.

Reasons for calling 9-1-1 can include:

  • Someone is sick or hurt

  • Someone is seen hurting someone else

  • You smell smoke or see a fire

  • You see an accident

  • You see a crime happening

  • You see suspicious activity

When calling 9-1-1, remember to:

  • Stay calm

  • Speak loudly and clearly

  • Give your full name, address, and phone number

  • Explain where you are and where the problem is

  • Follow all of the operatorís instruction carefully

  • Donít hang up until the operator tells you to!

Calling 9-1-1 on Cellular Phones: If you're in a moving vehicle, first pull over and stop! Then, the operator answering your call needs to know:

  • Where you are: location, address, city, and landmarks

  • Who you are: your full name and the cell phone's number

  • What are the details of the emergency? Give a description of the the vehicle you're in, or of the people involved in the emergency.

NOTE: This information is  provided by the Arlington Police Departmentís Crime Prevention Unit for families who are forced into a "latch key" situation. It is not an endorsement for leaving children home alone.

The number of "Latch Key Children" left at home alone to care for themselves -- and sometimes for younger siblings -- without adult supervision are on the rise.

Children caring for themselves and other children without adult supervision are more likely  to be involved in accidents, engage in delinquent behavior, or be victimized. Parents who must leave their children at home alone are rightly concerned with how well their children can handle routine and emergency situations. Some children enjoy caring for themselves and happily accept the added responsibility. Other children become lonely, bored, and scared.

To improve their self-care skills, parents can create routines that will help children avoid feeling lost or abandoned. Teach them how to use the phone and answer the door. Talk about personal safety at home and at school. Setting safety rules and limits appropriate to the child's abilities can help build their confidence.

Daily Routine.  Helping your child to establish a daily routine allows them to plan activities that will keep them productively occupied and entertained. Morning schedules may include such things as waking up, time for breakfast, time to get dressed, time to complete chores, and time to leave for school. An after-school schedule may include checking in with a parent or another adult, time to eat a snack, time for homework, recreation, time for chores, and time an adult will return home.

Telephone Safety. For a child at home alone, a telephone is their link to the outside world. While the telephone can be used to report emergencies, it can also be used improperly by people who may call to see if the house is empty or if a child is home alone.

  1. Teach children how to use all types of telephones (rotary dial, push button, cell, and pay phones).

  2. Have your children memorize their home phone number (including the area code), a parentís work number, and the phone number of a friend.

  3. Be sure your children know how to dial the correct emergency number and that they remember the six steps used to report an emergency.

  4. Post a list of emergency phone numbers next to every phone in the house.

  5. Teach your children to not tell callers they're home alone! Discuss how they can use "safe statements" when theyíre home alone and they answer the phone:

  • My mom is busy right now. Can she call you back?

  • My dad canít come to the phone right now. Can you call him back?

  • My mom is talking to a neighbor. Can you call her back?

Answering the Door Safely. It is always advisable for your children to not allow anyone (another child or adult) inside the house when they're home alone. Make sure your child can see who's outside the door. Again, teach your children to not tell visitors they're home alone! Some basic safety tips include:

  • Always keep the door locked.

  • When someone knocks on the door, see who it is without opening the door. If you do not see anyone, do not answer the door.

  • Look through the viewer or window to see if the person is a stranger or someone you know -- never open the door for someone you donít know.

  • Ask, "Who is it?" without opening the door.

  • Never tell anyone youíre alone. Use a safe statement such as:

- "My mother is busy right now."

- "My father canít come to the door right now."

  • Never hide a house key outside the house -- someone else may find it.

  • Never wear your house key outside your clothing for others to see.

  • Talk about what to do if your house key is lost.

Other Things You Can Do to Feel Safe at Home. Safety starts with you. These are some of the steps you can take to protect yourself when you're home alone. These ideas work for adults as well as children!

  • Check the outside of your home for signs of anything unusual before going inside. If something doesn't look right, donít go in. Go to a neighborís house and call 911.

  • Be sure all doors and windows are locked.

  • When going outside, always take your keys and ensure that doors and windows are locked before you leave.

  • Turn on your home's outside lights (porch lights) when it starts to get dark.

  • If you go out after dark, leave a light on inside your home.

  • Keep your bike and toys inside your home when youíre not using them.

  • Keep garage doors closed.

 ę Bicycle Safety

Many bicyclists are young and unfamiliar with laws and rules for bicycling. Inexperience and lack of knowledge lead to hundreds of deaths and thousands of bicycle related injuries each year. This bicycle safety overview is designed to teach children how to make safe and law-abiding choices as a bicycle operator.


  • Most bicycle crashes do not involve motor vehicles.

  • 90% of bicycle operatorsí injuries are due to falls from their bikes as a result of unexpected crashes.

  • Traumatic brain injury can result from falling off a bike. Falls can result from: loss of balance or control, sudden stops, loss of traction on a slippery surface, or other unexpected occurrences.

  • Wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries by 95%.

  • To make safe choices a bicyclist must understand bicycle safety LAWS, and obey all traffic SIGNS and SIGNALS.

Remember: When operating a bicycle in traffic, you become a driver who must obey all traffic signs and signals!

  • Warn other traffic when stopping or turning by signaling with your left hand and arm.

  • Ride as near to the right side of the road as possible and travel in the same direction as vehicles.

  • Be careful when passing parked vehicles or vehicles traveling in the same direction.

  • Don't operate more than two bicycles side-by-side.

  • Don't ride double on bicycles not built to carry two people, and ride only on the bicycle's regular seat!

  • Don't "hitch" onto any other vehicle.

  • Don't carry packages that prevent you from keeping at least one hand on the bike's handlebars.

  • Always be alert for traffic from all directions.

  • Before leaving a driveway, alley, or when crossing a street or road, STOP and look both ways. Wait for motor vehicles and pedestrians to pass.

  • Let pedestrians go first at street crossings and on sidewalks.

  • Get out of the street or roadway when you hear an emergency vehicle's siren.

  • Don't race with others on a public street or roadway.

  • Don't play riding games in the street or roadway.

  • Always keep your bicycle in good condition. You bike needs to have brakes that will skid the brake wheel on dry, level pavement.

  • To operate after dark, your bicycle must have a white light mounted on the front which can be seen at least 500 feet away, and a red light mounted on the rear that can be seen at least 500 feet away with a red reflector that can be seen at least 300 feet away.

  • Wearing your bike helmet can save your life. (Read more, below.)

The City of Arlington Bicycle Helmet Ordinance

Effective January 1, 1998, all children under eighteen must wear an approved bicycle helmet when operating a bicycle or riding as a passenger on a bicycle in the City of Arlington. Look for helmets with seals of approval from the the American National Safety Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM), and the Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell).

Child: means any person less than eighteen (18) years of age. (Age 17 and younger.)

Adult: means any individual eighteen (18) years of age are older.

Helmet: properly fitted headgear that is not structurally damaged and that conforms to the American National Safety Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM), and the Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell) or any federal agency regulating bicycle helmets.

Children need to be especially careful when they're approached by a stranger. They must be familiar with the common tricks and lures that a stranger can use to win their trust and friendship. Parents need to teach and remind their children of the basic rules for protecting themselves against strangers who mean them harm.

Most people in the world are strangers to us and most are kind, law-abiding people. A stranger can be a man or woman, and they can be nice or mean, good or bad. You cannot tell good people from bad people by what they look like, only by how they act.

What is a stranger? A stranger is someone that you donít know, even if they know you.

What is an acquaintance? Someone you know, but not very well.

Things that a dangerous stranger may say or do to a child:

  • Bribe: "Iíll give you a present (candy, money, toys, etc.)"

  • Assistance: "My dog is lost, will you help me find it?"

  • Attention / Affection: "I won't like you anymore if you don't ...," or "You are my favorite ...".

  • Threat / Fear: "Iíll hurt your mommy and daddy if you tell;" "No one will believe you;" or "I'll go to jail if you tell!"

  • Psychological Intimidation: "Iím doing this because I love you;" "Itís okay to do this, everyone does it;" "This is our secret! No one will ever know;" or "I wonít tell if you wonít tell."

  • Emergencies: "Your mom is sick, and she asked me to take you home."

  • Lure of Opportunity (Sexual Pedophile): Offenders promise the child modeling, acting, or singing careers that end instead in child pornography or molestation.

  • Authority:

  • A teacher may use his or her authority to abuse the child.

  • A relative my use his or her position to trick the child into sex games.

  • A stranger can say he or she is a police officer, fireman, preacher, doctor, or lawyer.

  • Fun and Games: Playing "doctor," hide-and seek, tickling, or playing "mom and dad."

  • There are many other ways a stranger, an acquaintance, or even a trusted adult can entice a child. Parents need to go over safety tips and play "what if" games with their children.

    Here are three things a child can do when approached by a stranger:

    1. Say "No!" loudly and repeatedly;

    2. Get physically away from the stranger; and then

    3. Tell an adult.

    School Safety

    • Always take the same route to and from school.

    • Know where the nearest safe place is located while walking to and from school. (A trusted neighborhood parent/family, a fire station, police station, church, community center).

    • Notice where pay phones are located while walking to and from school in case you have to make a call in an emergency.

    • If you ride a bike to school, keep it locked with a sturdy lock in the school bicycle rack.

    • Write your name on your personal possessions so that you can identify them if they are stolen.

    • Keep your money in your backpack until it is needed.

    • Donít keep anything expensive or of sentimental value inside your desk.

    • Keep away from strangers especially if youíre in an area alone, around public restrooms, playgrounds, and shopping mall, outside a building or even while on a field trip. Report suspicious people, vehicles, or activity to a teacher, parent, principal or trusted adult.

    • Never accept a ride from anyone, unless your parents have personally told you it was OK to ride with that person at that particular time.

    • Go straight home from school, unless your parents specifically gave you permission to go elsewhere.

    Safety while Walking

    • When possible, avoid walking alone. Walk with someone, or walk in areas where other people are near.

    • Stay in open areas, away from alleys, bushes and entryways.

    • Avoid shortcuts through walking trails, parks, vacant lots, and other deserted places.

    • Donít hitchhike or accept rides form strangers.

    • If someone follows you while walking, donít go near him or her. Change directions or cross the streets. If they continue to follow you, run to the nearest business or residence and ask them for help.

    • If a driver stops to ask you directions, avoid getting near the car.

    • If occupants of a car are harassing you, turn and walk the other way.

    Other Safety

    • Keep money safely concealed.

    • Always try to walk and play with friends instead of walking and playing by yourself.

    • Let the adult responsible for you know where you are at all times.

    • If someone tries to grab you, run away and screamómake lots of noise.

    • If youíre in a shopping mall, grocery store, or other public place and you get separated from your parents, go to the nearest store or employee and tell them youíve lost your mom or dad and you need help finding them.

    And for Parents ...

    Children think in literal terms. Be specific about what you tell them. Set rules, limits, and policies that best suits your family. Be clear and consistent. Build confidence rather than scare tactics when teaching your children. Know the families of the children your children interacts with. Organize a secret code known only by you and your children if there is a troubled situation.

    Building a personal relationship with your children will aid their personal safety. It will also open honest and caring communication between adults and children about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in people.

    September 2003

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