SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Dispatchers in Seminole County reported Sunday that they received an increase in the number of 911 calls from unattended children during Florida’s stay-at-home order.
The report comes one day after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that children would not be returning to the classroom for the remainder of the school year.
DeSantis said he realizes online schooling is not ideal but given where students and educators are in the school year and the obstacles presented by the ongoing pandemic, he believes continuing distance learning is the best option right now.
Seminole County leaders urge parents to sit down with children to ensure they are educated on the following:
- How and when to call 9-1-1. Make sure children are prepared to communicate their name, address or location, what happened and who needs help.
- Microwave and cooking safety. Never microwave aluminum foil or metal, use only microwave-safe dishes or containers.
- Basic first aid. Teach children how to stop bleeding for minor cuts/scrapes, how to treat burns, how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, etc.
- When to answer the door. Children should not answer the door for strangers or delivery drivers.
- Social media safety. Ensure children do not share that they are left unattended.
- Keeping a phone nearby. If the home doesn’t have a house phone, ensure children have a fully charged phone on hand. Also make sure children have an emergency contact list readily available.
“Parents should also ensure homes are prepared if leaving children unattended. Make sure smoke alarms are in working order, fire extinguishers are up-to-date and accessible, and fire igniting sources, chemicals, medications and firearms are secured,” officials said.