Lesson Plan for Calling 911 or the Police

This lesson can be adapted for any level.


1. Students will distinguish between true emergencies (911 calls) and incidents to be reported to the police that are not true emergencies.

2. Students will make wallet cards with pertinent information required by emergency operators to get the appropriate help.

3. Students will practice making 911 calls.


1. 911 vs Police Calls pictures

2. Cards for Wallet 2







heart attack











in progress

domestic violence


Ask students if they have been in emergency situations. What kinds? List words on whiteboard. Add other essential vocabulary not mentioned by students.



To differentiate between 911 calls and Police Report calls.

Discuss which incidents lead to a 911 call and which are police calls.

911 calls are for dangerous situations IN PROGRESS where emergency assistance (fire, police, ambulance) can STOP further damage or RESCUE someone who is in immediate danger.

Police calls – not 911 – are to report accidents in which no one was injured, robberies that have happened but the thief is gone. Any situation in which no one is any longer in immediate danger.

Show (or print out and give to pairs) pictures of situations. (See attached pictures.) Ask students which require 911 calls and which are calls to the police to report an incident.

Part 2: Making 911 Calls

Discuss information that is required when a person calls 911. The most important information is THE LOCATION. Give the exact address if known, or the closest intersection.

When a person calls 911, they will be asked for the information in this order:

1. Where is your emergency?

2. What is your phone number?

3. What is happening?

From there, the operator will send out the appropriate response team, and they will, if necessary, ask the caller further questions. These questions will be relevant to the incident. (I will include these in scenarios that can be acted out in class.)

Part 3. Making Wallet Cards for Emergencies

At this point, the students can fill out their Emergency Information Wallet cards, included with this lesson, to be printed out and given to each student.

On the cards, they do not need to fill out the front of the card, but they need to understand the questions because these will be asked by the Operator at 911.

On the other side is a list of common emergencies. Students should translate these into their own language and know how to pronounce the words – so that, in an emergency, there is no confusion.

Part 4. SCENARIOS – ROLE PLAYS – These are from a conversation with the Boulder Police dispatcher, who told me the kinds of questions that are asked.

Students can elaborate as they wish. If they can only give the most basic information, that is fine! Remember that the most important is the LOCATION. Give the questions to Partner A (911 Operator) and the scenario to Partner B (Caller).

Scenario 1

There is an accident at the corner of Arapahoe and 30th Street in Boulder. A man on a motorcycle was hit by someone in a green Subaru. Traffic is backed up on the street. It appears that the man on the motorcycle has been hurt.

Operator: 911 Where is your emergency?


Operator: What is your phone number?

Caller: (If you do not know how to say it quickly…say, “I don’t know.”

Operator: What happened?


Operator: We are sending help now.

[Further questions]

Operator: How many cars are involved?


Operator: How many people are hurt?


Operator: Are both drivers still present?


Operator: Did you witness the accident?


Operator: Please stay on the scene. Thank you.

Scenario 2

There is a fire in the house next door. Your address is 1130 Lehigh. The closest intersection is Lehigh and Table Mesa. The Caller can see flames. He or she does not know if there are people in the house, but knows that a family lives there.

Operator: 911 Where is your emergency?


Operator: What is your phone number?


Operator: What is happening?


Operator: We are sending the Fire Department.

Operator: Are there people in the house?


Operator: Do not go inside. Call to them to evacuate. Evacuate your own house and go to safety. Please hang up now.

Scenario 3

There is a fight on the Pearl Street mall, near Broadway. There are three men mainly involved. One of them has a knife. You don’t know if the others do or not.

Operator: 911 Where is your emergency?


Operator: What is your phone number?


Operator: What is happening?


Operator: The police are coming now.

Operator: Please look closely at the people. Can you describe the person with the knife? Do you know the nationality? White, black, Hispanic, Asian?


Operator: What is he wearing? What is the color of his shirt?


Operator: The second person involved?

[The Operator asks about each suspect one at a time.]

Scenario 4:

There is a prowler in your house. You are in your upstairs bedroom. You hear someone downstairs. Your children are asleep in the room next to yours. Please give your home address and the nearest intersection to your house when she asks for location.

Operator: Where is your emergency?


Operator: What is your phone number?


Operator: What is happening?

Operator: We are sending the police right away.

Operator: Go into your children’s room and tell them to remain quiet.

Operator:  Now please describe your house? What is its color?


Operator: Is there a fence?


Operator: A gate? And where is it?


Operator: Do you have a car in the driveway? If so, please describe it? (If there                 are other cars there, this will help the police.)

Other scenarios to improvise:

Someone has had a heart attack.

Someone has taken poison.

There is domestic abuse in progress.

Students can think of others and make scenarios themselves. The essential three questions remain the same.

At the end of the role play, students can share their situations with others.

At the end, students will have their own Emergency Wallet cards and will have practiced making 911 calls.

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