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Why Is Safety In Action So Important?

Some children in Jersey don’t know what number to ring in an emergency.

Child Accident Prevention Jersey (CAPJ) visits schools regular with a variety of safety messages. During these visits we regularly check the child’s existing knowledge and we often see some confusion about which number to ring in an emergency.

The confusion became apparent during a Safety in Action event, which aims to give children the tools to assess risks and make informed choices for themselves. When we asked them what number to ring in an emergency, several children in each group said 911 or 118.

During our annual event, when over 1000 nine and ten year olds attend, concerns were raised by how frequently these numbers were being mentioned. With the increasing number of American-made children’s programmes and high-profile ad campaigns, it’s easy to see why when children are under pressure and can become confused.

The States Of Jersey Ambulance, Police and Coastguard and Fire & Rescue services have been working together to ensure Islanders are given a consistent message about which number to ring in an emergency.

In response to CAPJ findings, the Jersey Fire & Rescue Service have said, “Each country has a different number to contact the emergency services and to avoid confusion, the European Union introduced 112 in the early 1990s. Jersey adopted 112 alongside the UK’s 999 because of the Island’s proximity to France and the European Union’s campaign to adopt a single emergency number across all 27 EU countries.

“At this time the UK have no plans to drop the 999 number, and Jersey’s emergency services have taken the position to make 999 the sole number in all our advertising and student education programmes to combat confusion. It’s so important that children are able to call for help when they find themselves in a dangerous situation where every second counts. Although we value the importance of 112 working in Jersey, especially due the high number of visiting people from Europe, we want 999 to be the first number to pop into children’s heads.”