HomeCity NewsCome for the Donuts, Stay for 911 Call Safety

Come for the Donuts, Stay for 911 Call Safety

Saving a life can be as easy as dialing three numbers: 911.

To ensure children and families are equipped with the knowledge of how to call the emergency line, the San Marino Police Department hosted its second annual Donuts With Dispatch on May 4.

The event, which closely follows National 911 Education Month in April, gave SMPD dispatchers who are typically on the other end of the phone an opportunity to welcome guests and share with them their firsthand knowledge. Beyond teaching how and when to dial 911, dispatchers prepared the more than 150 attendees for what to expect after calling, including the types of questions they should be ready to answer. For children, remembering the basics like knowing their parents’ names and their home address is crucial.

Dispatcher Sylvia Ramirez said the community engagement aspect of Donuts With Dispatch is invaluable, having the potential to leave a lasting impression.

“Interacting with the children and socializing with the public can be very rewarding, knowing that we, as police dispatchers, can teach and pass along our knowledge on how to properly dial 911 in the event of an emergency to save a life and to prevent the misuse of 911,” Ramirez said.

Dispatcher Brittnie Camacho, who also serves as an administrative assistant, said she was proud of the outreach the program accomplished that day.

“It was a really great feeling to have so many people show up,” Camacho said. “Last year, we had a good amount, but this year, the turnout was amazing. Even if we only taught the children one thing, that could potentially save a life.”

Donuts and coffee proved to be crowd pleasers amid the community-building effort. Residents were also invited to tour the department’s communication center to get a glimpse into the world of being a dispatcher, with SMPD personnel on hand to answer questions about how they operate.

As an additional treat, worksheets and workbooks were available for children. They were able to take home tote bags with pedestrian and bike safety materials like reflectors, yellow vests and helmets, all of which were purchased through funding from the Office of Traffic Safety.

One fun fact that came as a surprise to many is that anyone with a cell phone can text 911 to get in contact with police in the event that they cannot dial the number.

It’s never too early or too late to be informed on the importance of being a “good caller,” said Ramirez, who noted that people should always remain on the line and never hang up on a 911 call, even if it is a mistake.

First published in the May 9 issue of the San Marino Tribune

Photo courtesy San Marino Police Department / Dispatchers Christina Curtis and Sylvia Ramirez were ready to connect with community members through 911 education and donuts.


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