ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Six-year-old Claire Sullivan’s grandmother was babysitting her at her Arlington apartment when a 20 minute, life-or-death drama began to unfold.
“I heard a little cry and I went to check over here [sic] what it was. And then I saw my Mimi laying down on the couch,” Claire recalled.
The Arlington Fire Department released the recording of the 9-1-1 call Tuesday.
“Hello,” Claire said with an urgent but controlled voice. “My MiMi! It’s like she’s dead. “What’s your address, honey?” the dispatcher asked. “One,” Claire paused as she tried to think. “It says 112 on the door.”
Claire knew the apartment number but not the rest of the address. “You mean like the address for my street?” Claire asked the dispatcher. The lifeline on the other end of the phone said, “The address for your street, yes ma’am.”
Still unsuccessful with locating an address Claire asked, “Do you want me to go outside to see the street name?” The dispatcher first asked her if there were any adults outside or neighbors she knew. “I don’t see anybody outside my door but my street. I think it says Arbor Town,” Claire said.
As the minutes wore on, Sullivan found it harder and harder to fight back the overwhelming emotions. She told dispatchers her dad was at work. “If you know my dad’s phone number I would like you to call him right now for you to tell him to come home,” she told the dispatcher through tears.
At one point Sullivan cried, “Oh! Mimi! Mimi! Please! Someone just help!!”
Finally, in the background he sound of a door opening can be heard and a firefighter asking, “Did you call?” Claire begins sobbing in relief.
The story has an even better ending. Claire’s grandmother had surgery to relieve fluid pressure on her brain and survived.
Tuesday Claire and the dispatcher, Lari Tillar, were honored for the life-saving efforts by the Arlington Fire Department.
CBS 11 News Reporter Joel Thomas asked Sullivan if she knew what a hero is? “Someone that saved someone’s life,” she responded.
“Do you think you’re a hero?” Thomas asked. “Yeah,” she said.
Lastly, little Claire was asked how being a hero makes her feel. “Happy,” she said with a smile.
Members of the Arlington Fire Department offered the following tips for parents when it comes to kids and 911 calls –
It’s important to explain to children that emergencies are a part of life. While emergencies may seem very scary, help is just a quick phone call away by dialing 911.
Remember, young children have an especially difficult time remembering their address in emergency situations.
We’d like to offer these tips that will “help 911 calltakers, help your child” when the call to report an emergency:
- Cell phones do not always deliver an exact location to 9-1-1 calltaker. Therefore, it is vital that 9-1-1 callers provide calltakers with the address or location of the emergency they are reporting.
- Be sure to teach your children their home address.
- Remember, some children have two homes, Mom’s and Dad’s. So, be sure to teach them both addresses.
- Once you’ve taught them their address, be sure to practice with your children. Make learning fun by quizzing them.
- Display your home address in a central location in the home, like on the refrigerator.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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