Strode Station students learn all about 911

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

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For many children of the 1990s, the television show “Rescue 911” is where they learned about emergency service operations.

In Winchester, kids now have an opportunity for more hands-on understanding and reward.

The 9-1-1 for Kids Program, operated by the Winchester Police Department, held a 9-1-1 For Kids Party at Strode Station Elementary School at 1750 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on Wednesday, December 13th.

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The winner of its yearly coloring contest – third-grader Kate Chamberlain – was also celebrated.

“I really enjoy that the kids are learning what 9-1-1 is all about and what safety is all about for them and their community,” said Chief James Hall of the Winchester Police Department. “I’m just really pleased with the amount of participation that we’re seeing.”

First established in 1994, the 9-1-1 for Kids Program has earned the distinction of being a public safety program endorsed and supervised by the National Emergency Numbers Association (NENA) and the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA).

At least once a month since the start of the school year, dispatchers have gone to third-grade classrooms from different elementary schools throughout Clark County.

One area focused on for teaching is cell phone safety, supported by a mascot – called Cell Phone Sally – who helps reinforce its importance.

While many students might already be familiar with 911 as an emergency number, the Police Department emphasizes what constitutes such.

Thus, it will be used as intended.

“We talk about…how 9-1-1 is super important and that it should only be used in emergencies,” Hall added. “That’s for anybody breaking into your house, [if] somebody in the house is injured, a fire, [and more]. We want kids to be aware that they can contact us if they need to, but not to just contact us for any reason.”

A contest was recently held across different elementary schools.

After dispatchers recently described the expected criteria using a PowerPoint presentation, students got asked to draw a picture.

The winning drawing, of which there were many entrants, would earn their class a pizza party and – to much excitement – have their picture displayed in an upcoming calendar to be released by the Winchester Police Department.

While Holly Crowe of Shearer Elementary School came in third and Callie Rose of Strode Station Elementary School came in second place, Kate Chamberlain took the first place prize.

As a result, not only did her class earn the party mentioned above, but they could take a photo with the Winchester Police Department – including Abe, the Clark County Public Schools therapy dog.

“I [drew] three [paramedics], three firefighters, and three police [officers],” said Chamberlain. “I drew their hands around each other to show they work together and they like each other, and I [drew] their symbols above them to show who they are.”

Having witnessed the program’s benefits, third-grade teacher Jenny Thorpe spoke highly of it.

“I just appreciate the police officers and [others],” Thorpe said. “They are men and women that serve, and when they come and make themselves visible in our classroom, students feel more comfortable using the services or know that those services are provided for our whole community.”