Emergency call 911 dispatchers have an incredibly tough job. Spending their days (or nights) fielding frantic calls from distressed people in their worst times, they have to be quick-thinkers, efficient communicators, and above all, stay cool under pressure.
We wouldn’t blame them for feeling worn out because of their high-pressure jobs!
Recently, however, an emergency call operator, Jason Bonham, shared a phone call he received on the job that was totally unlike any other- and it has us all in hysterics!
5 Year Old Savannah’s Famous 911 Call
When Bonham responded to this phone call, he immediately recognized that on the other end of the phone was a very young child. You’ll notice his patient and familiar tone:
Jason Bonham (JB): What’s wrong?
Savannah (S): Um…. my dad can’t hardly breathe…
JB: Ok, hold on a second, ok?
JB: How old are you?
S: I’m 5 years old.
JB: Ok, what’s your name?
JB: Ok, Savannah, hold on. I’m getting them dispatched ok?
Of course, it wasn’t long before Savannah’s spunky, confident personality started to really come through!
S: Ok… you need to come reaaaal fast!
JB: Ok, Savannah, I have ’em on the way. Is your Daddy still awake?
JB: Okay. Is your front door unlocked, Savannah?
S: Uh… [calls out] Is our front door unlocked? No.
JB: Ok, Savannah, can you go unlock that front door for me?
S: Ok, I’m going to go [unclear] … [yelling] Don’t worry Dad!
Part of Bonham’s job as a dispatcher is to get a clear understanding as best he can of what kind of condition the people who are involved are in, so first responders can be well-informed. You can hear him getting more information from Savannah about the situation as first responders are still on their way. And of course, her responses are precious:
JB: Can you ask him [her dad] if this has ever happened before?
S: [Calling out] Has this ever happened? [To the dispatcher]No, so far so good. He’s still awake.
JB: Hey, ask him if he has any chest pain.
S: [Calling out] Do you have any chest pain? [To the dispatcher] Yes.
S: This is his first time.
JB: Ok. I got ’em on the way, so…
S: Ok. We’re in our jammies! And I’m in a tank top, so… I’ll have to get dressed.
S: I don’t [unclear] … what I’m gonna wear, but… he really needs oxygen, real fast. Yes, the door’s unlocked.
It seems Bonham wanted to make sure Savannah didn’t leave her father unattended, so kept checking in and keeping the conversation going until first responders arrived.
JB: Is he still doing ok, Savannah?
S: Yeah, he’s ok.
S: I’ll go-I’ll be in my room, and I’ll be putting on…um…
JB: Hey Savannah? I want you to stay there with your Daddy, ok?
JB: I need you to make sure that he stays awake, so-
S: Ok. I got that. And… we have a dog….that’s really… um….. small.
JB: So he’s friendly?
S: He’s friendly!
S: He kind of barks!
JB: He kind of barks? That’s alright, though.
S: [Calling out] Lou, come on! [clicks at the dog] The ambulance is on the way- come on, Lou Lou! Come here!
JB: Is your dad ok still?
S: Yeah. So far, so good. [calling out] Stay calm, Dad.
Teach Young Children To React Well In Emergencies
Cuteness aside, we’re huge fans of the way Savannah’s family in Hancock County, Indiana clearly prepared her to know how to respond in an emergency.
Teaching young children (even as young as 2 or 3) when to dial 911 isn’t just good advice, it can be a matter of life or death. It’s also advisable to practice “drills” as a family. Things like:
- What do you do if the smoke alarm goes off? Where do you meet as a family outside? What exits can you take from each room in the house?
- What’s your family password if a relative needs to pick you up from school instead of mom or dad?
- What does it look like when someone’s choking? What should you do if you see someone in distress?
- What are the family rules about the stove / backyard pool / and other high-risk areas?
Pass this story along to someone else who you think might appreciate it!
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