DEAR ABBY: In your column of Sunday, Nov. 25, was a letter signed "911" that needs some clarification. Abby, 911 was designated as a national emergency reporting number and should be used to report all medical, police or fire emergencies. Apparently, the writer of the letter you published is from a community where they dispatch only for the police department.

We at the International Society of Fire Service Instructors strongly advocate and teach nationwide that 911, where available, should be used to report any emergency dealing with fire or smoke, as well as accidents and medical emergencies. By using the 911 system, access to telephone number and location is available to the dispatcher immediately, thus greatly reducing response time and consequently saving many more lives.Contrary to what the writer said, DO call 911 should your television emit sparks or should you smell something burning. - EDWARD H. McCORMACK JR., CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF FIRE SERVICE INSTRUCTORS

DEAR MR. McCORMACK: Thanks for the information. I've heard from many others advising me of the same thing.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating this guy for 10 months. I really fell for him, and he told me he loved me. Two weeks ago, I heard that he is engaged to marry a girl who lives out of town. Their wedding is scheduled for January, and I was shocked because he never even mentioned her to me. I finally asked him if what I heard was true and he said it was, but he says he loves me and wants to continue seeing me. He asked me to please be there for him if his marriage doesn't work out.

I don't understand this. He knows that I love him, and if he really loves me, why does he want to marry someone else?

What should I do? This is very painful for me, because we had such a great relationship for 10 months and it will be hard for me to end it. Should I keep going with him up until the time he gets married or what? - HEARTBROKEN DOWN SOUTH

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: End it now, and thank your lucky stars you aren't the girl he's engaged to. How would you like to be engaged to a guy who's telling another girl he "loves" her and wants her to be there for him in case his marriage with you doesn't work out? He's bad news. Please, read the first sentence of my answer again. And commit it to memory.

DEAR ABBY: I am a sailor aboard a Navy destroyer presently in the Persian Gulf as a part of Desert Shield.

First, God bless you for all you have done to support us while we are on the front line. We have been literally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of mail we have received. This ship has heard from three elementary schools, two junior high schools and one high school. Abby, 3,000 letters are a lot to answer, and I want to apologize because there is no way we can answer all those letters personally.

Secondly, I do not want to appear ungrateful, but what has happened to our school system? I just read a letter from a high school student from a Southwestern state. I quote: "I now you are doon yore best to pertek our nation fum them and I want you to no we are prowd of you."

Abby, this is not unusual, I assure you. I do not know how this student ever got out of the third grade.

I read letters from two foreign students - one was a Dominican and the other a Russian - ages 9 and 10. Their handwriting was very neat and easy to read, and their spelling was perfect.

God help America if our kids are graduated from high school spelling and writing the way they do! - SHOCKED ON THE U.S.S. O'BRIEN

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