How to Teach Your Child to Call 000

boy calling emergency

None of us ever want to imagine that we or our children might face an emergency situation. Yet Queensland Fire and Emergency Services states that firefighters attended 1,935 house fires across Queensland last year, with nearly a third of these occurring in the winter months. With one in four families not having a fire escape plan nor even working smoke alarms, it is more important than ever to know how to respond in case of an emergency.

Did you know that even children as young as three have managed to save lives through calling the Emergency Services? So if you haven’t taught your child how to call 000 yet, now is the time to do it, because when children are armed with knowledge, they can face a situation with confidence and action rather than fear and panic. And that could literally be a matter of life and death.

Teaching Your Child to Call 000

Teaching your child to call Triple Zero is a simple process, which can be broken down into five important steps.

Step 1: Know What an Emergency Is

In order to know when to call 000, children first need to understand the term ‘emergency’ and be able to work out whether an event is an emergency.

Make sure your child knows that:

An emergency is a serious and dangerous situation that needs us to take fast action to stop something very bad from happening.

According to the Triple Zero Kids’ Challenge Teacher’s Guide, an emergency is when:

  • Someone is badly injured or very unwell.
  • Your life or somebody else’s life is in danger.
  • There is a serious accident or crime taking place.

You can help your child to learn what an emergency is by going through lots of different scenarios and asking them to identify which ones are emergencies. You could make a list of the answers.

To practise identifying emergency situations, you can play this fun ‘Emergency Bingo’ game, using the pictures in this Resource Pack (full instructions on how to play can be found here). You can also use these picture cards to play a sorting game, asking your child to sort the cards into three piles for Police, Fire or Ambulance.

Step 2: Know How to Use a Phone

Show your child how to use a landline phone and your mobile phone. Remember, they will need to know:

  • what to press to turn a mobile phone on;
  • what to press to override entering a passcode;
  • how to open the keypad;
  • how to enter the numbers; and
  • what to press to dial the number.

parent teaching child to use a phone

Step 3: Remember What Number to Dial

Make sure your child knows what number to call in case of an emergency. They may be able to remember they have to call ‘Triple Zero’, but be sure to check that they know what this means as they may not understand the word ‘triple’. For little kids, you might want to call it ‘zero zero zero’ instead.

To help remember the number, here is a fun song video for them to watch.  

Step 4: Learn Your Address and Phone Number

During a 000 call, your child may be asked for their address and phone number, so it’s important to make sure they know these or know where to find them if needed. Learning an address and phone numbers is all about This is all about practise, practise, practise. You may need to remind children that although it’s okay to give out this information on 000, they should not give it out to strangers.

Step 5: Know What to Expect When You Dial 000

To help kids learn what to expect during a 000 call, you can use the Triple Zero Kids’ Challenge app. This app replicates the real act of dialling Triple Zero and speaking to the operator, so it’s a great way for kids to practise. The app also helps children to learn about getting emergency help through fun games and mysteries to solve. They will explore different emergency situations and learn how best to respond.

Another way to help kids know what to expect is to role-play a Triple Zero call with them. You can use the script in this Resource Pack to help you know what to say.

Make sure children know that it’s important to stay calm and speak clearly during the call.  

Further Resources

As mentioned, the Triple Zero Kids’ Challenge is a great resource for teaching children about how to call 000.

You can also check out the amazing Kids’ Corner on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website, which has activities, games, quizzes and craft ideas.

And be sure to create your own Fire Escape Plan with this great tool from QFES.

For more information about fire safety, visit qfes.qld.gov.au. You may also wish to read these other great fire safety resources:

The Biggest Fire Dangers in Your Home

How to Prepare a Fire Escape Plan

How to Discuss a Fire Safety Plan with Your Kids

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