Tonight is the first evening that 15-year-old Kim is babysitting outside of her home. She has taken on a weekend job that will also allow her to work through the summer.
It is for one of her parents’ acquaintances so not a complete stranger. Kim’s mom brought her and introduced her to the family a few days ago. This would provide some familiarity before her first evening of watching twin three-year-old boys. She was advised about some food allergies, bedtime and what the boys enjoyed and what they were allowed to watch on tv. The parents wrote down their work and cell numbers if she had any questions. She spent a little time interacting with the boys, Jake and Drake. Everything went smoothly. She thought this was going to be great, her first real out of the house job.
Earlier as Kim’s mom was driving her to the house; which was twenty minutes away, she kept reminding Kim that she could call her if she had questions, to lock the doors, don’t open the doors and on and on. Kim wasn’t listening that well, she just knew this was great to have a job.
Kim went into the house as Mrs. Lake was leaving, she advised Kim that her and Mr. Lake should be home around midnight, and to text or call if anything was needed.
Kim turned and Jake came running in for a hug, Drake was a little more shy but was more talkative as the evening went on. They ate dinner, played with Legos, and Kim even joined them in coloring pictures. As it was getting dark Kim remembered her mom’s voice telling her about the doors. Kim checked again just to make sure they were locked, then headed upstairs to put the boys to bed. They were rambunctious being the first night with a new sitter but settle down as she read them their favorite book.
After they had fallen asleep, Kim went back downstairs, as she was getting up to get something to drink, she thought she saw something outside. Maybe just a dog, she looked but didn’t see anything through the window. As she was coming back to the couch she saw it again, it was no dog, that was someone running from the front of the house. Where did they go, who was it? The boys, are they still asleep? Kim raced upstairs, they were soundly sleeping.
Kim’s heart was racing, she was trying to decide what to do, who should she call? She took out her phone, she struggled to get her phone unlocked and saw the emergency option at the bottom, she dialed.
Tonight in dispatch Josh, Morgan and Myrissa have been busy with multiple emergencies, throughout the county including a storm that has taken out the electricity in the northern areas.
As the phone rings…
Morgan: “9-1-1 where is your emergency.”
Kim: “I am babysitting and there is someone outside.”
Morgan: “Ok, what is the address? Are the doors locked?
Kim: “Yes, the doors are locked, and the address oh I don’t know, this is my first night here.”
Morgan could tell that the caller was very anxious, nervous, and scared, she would need to help her calm down to get some answers to help.
Morgan: “What is your name?”
Kim: “Kim, but I am not at home. I am just the babysitter. Please help.”
Morgan: “Kim, I am going to stay on the phone with you and send help. First, we need to get the location. Can you tell me what road you are on?”
Kim: “Ugh, no, my mom drove me. I know we went by the place where they used to have a big chicken, like a huge one. Then down another road.”
Morgan was able to talk to Kim while trying to map the location, this took a little longer due to cell service being interrupted, possibly from the storm.
Morgan: “Kim, my partners have help on the way. You said you were babysitting; how many kids are there with you?”
Kim: “There are two boys, twins, they are three. I am only 15, this has never happened to me before.”
Morgan: “Where are you and the boys at in the house?”
Kim: :We are in their bedroom upstairs, they are still asleep.”
Morgan: “I want you to go ahead and shut the bedroom door.”
Kim: “OK. Please hurry I am not sure what they are doing.”
Morgan: How many people did you see?
Kim: “Just one, but maybe they left, I am not sure.”
Morgan: “Can you tell me what they were wearing?”
Kim: “The only thing I could tell looked like a white hoodie, then I ran upstairs.”
Morgan: “Where were they at?”
Kim: “I seen them run in front of the house.”
Morgan: “Have you heard anything?”
Morgan: “Kim, I want you to stay in that room and tell me anything you may see or hear. I am going to stay on the phone with you, until a deputy is right there with you.”
Kim: “I want to call my mom.”
Morgan: “Kim I have a deputy that is pulling in the driveway right now, stay on the line with me until he talks with you then you can call you mom, I know it is scary but you were correct in calling for help. The deputy will look around before coming to the house. I will let you know when he is at the door.”
Morgan stayed on the phone until the deputy was able to talk to Kim. He had looked all around outside and walked through the house while they called and waited for Kim’s mom. Nothing was found but it did look like someone had been outside. The deputy also talked to Mr. Lake.
After the discussion and another phone call the deputy discovered that it was the Lakes’ nephew. Mr. Lake had forgotten to bring down the trash bins from the end of the driveway. He called his nephew and asked him to stop on his way home to do it. Mr. Lake didn’t realize to tell Kim, that he would be stopping by.
Thankfully, this was a great outcome. There are few lessons to share with this scenario. First being always have your address visible inside your house for family, company and especially babysitters. Check your address outside, make sure it can be seen from the roadway, coming from both directions during all seasons, night, and day. Additionally add routine drills within your family plan for emergencies. Lastly, parents keep up the great work talking with the kids. Your kids, and their friends, talk often, your voice does get to through to them, sometimes at the most needed moment.
Many will be staying home alone or babysitting for the first time this summer, it is never too soon to practice your family emergency plan.
The Texas County Emergency Services office in Houston is funded by a 3/8-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 2013. Director Terra Culley can be reached by phone at 417-967-5309 or by email at email@example.com.