Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Amherst Police launch Public Safety 911 Education Program

By Sam Butterfield

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On Sunday, the Amherst Police Department announced that it would continue its Public Safety 911 Education Program, now in its third year.

Emergency dispatchers from the Amherst Public Safety Emergency Communications Center will be participating in the Amherst Fire Department’s which helps teach young Amherst residents the dos and dont’s of calling 911.

The month-long program will end with the 911 awareness activities, planned for the end of October. The 911 instruction hopes to provide students with pertinent information on how to responsibly and correctly make use of 911 emergency resources, including teaching them what to say if they ever do need to make an emergency call.

Additionally, the students will get the chance to practice dialing 911 using a phone prop allowing the dispatchers and students to simulate an emergency call to review the situations the students had learned.

Though the SAFE program began in 1996 and was designed to teach citizens of all ages, it was not implemented in Amherst until 2007, when dispatchers Jason Rushford and Carly Kinnas brought it here.

The two dispatchers have presented the program at various local community centers, including the Amherst Fire Department’s open house, the Bangs Community Center flu clinic, and at the Amherst Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) program.
More information on the program is available by calling the Emergency Communications Center at (413) 259-3000. The program is funded by a community policing grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at [email protected]

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