9-1-1 Heroes: When kids call 9-1-1
In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 10-16, 2016) we celebrated two young heroes, Allessandra Esquivel and Janaia McKinley for calling 9-1-1 for family members experiencing medical emergencies. San Francisco Public Safety Dispatchers Celia Velasquez and Burt Wilson were also honored for their professionalism and compassion while working with these remarkable young people.
We were joined by the 9-1-1 for Kids organization’s national spokesperson, Tim Brown, formerly of the Oakland Raiders to distribute awards.
Our first 9-1-1 hero was Allessandra, who had to assist her non-English speaking parents in reporting that her baby brother was choking. “Can you send an ambulance? My baby brother is choking…He’s only nine months,” said Allessandra to Public Safety Dispatcher Celia Velasquez.
Allesandra’s poise was impressive. She answered dispatcher Celia Velasquez’s questions in English, relayed information and reassured her parents in Spanish, and at Celia’s direction performed CPR on her infant brother.
“I’m going to tell you what we’re going to do. It’s almost like CPR. We’re going to do CPR on your baby brother, okay?” instructed Dispatcher Velasquez in tone that communicated command and compassion. “Can you count as you’re doing it with me, honey? Just don’t give up!”
Our other amazing 9-1-1 Hero is Janaia McKinley who called 911 stating “Nana can’t breathe and she’s about to have a heart attack,” to Public Safety Dispatcher Burt Wilson.
Janiai and her grandmother were the only ones home that night. “Nana” was lying on her side and could not feel her arm. Janiai had be to both Nana’s voice and advocate and Public Safety Dispatcher Burt Wilson’s eyes and ears.
“It’s important for people to remain calm while answering a dispatcher’s questions,” said Dispatcher Wilson. “Janiai calmly answered every question and displayed maturity beyond her eight years.”
The 9-1-1 Local Heroes Medal of Honor is awarded to young people who call 9-1-1 to help save a life, protect property, or report a crime. The award also is presented to the 9-1-1 dispatcher who processed the call, and dispatched the appropriate emergency response help. The 9-1-1 Local Heroes Medal of Honor was created in 1999 and is now an international awards program.
*Special note of thanks to Paul Henderson, Office of Mayor Ed Lee Deputy Chief of Staff of Public Safety for being the Master of Ceremony of this very special and educational event.