Krystin Judds, a 911 communications specialist, was calm and clear during an emergency phone call early in the evening Sept. 25 from a Kansas City, Mo., home.
The emergency caller, Emma Miller, then 8, had a similarly composed demeanor.
“You’re doing a really good job,” Judds said to Emma, a thirdgrader. “Your mom is going to be really proud of you.”
Judds was right: Emma’s mother, Brandi Miller, is indeed proud of her daughter’s actions.
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Others are, too.
On Monday, the MidAmerica Regional Council’s Public Safety Communications program and the Kansas City Fire Department honored Emma, now 9, for proper use of 911 in an emergency. A special ceremony took place at Barry School, 2001 Northwest 87th St. in Kansas City.
“I don’t even know I can find the words to describe how proud I am of her,” Brandi said. “She really is my hero. I don’t know what I would have done that day had she not been there.”
Emma called 911 when she found her mother unconscious. Her 6-year-old brother, Patrick, and 4-year-old sister, Abigail, were also home.
Brandi said she passed out due to complications with her blood pressure medication. She has fully recovered and has not had an episode since Sept. 25.
“One minute I’m finishing up dinner and the next minute there are a whole bunch of people in my house,” she said. “It was a little confusing.”
Emma called 911 in the time between, calmly answering Judds’ questions, providing her address and other information, and signaling emergency personnel when they reached her home. The girl also followed instructions and checked her mother’s breathing and airway.
“In the ambulance, on the way to the emergency room, one of the EMTs had told me (Emma) did a bang-up job,” Brandi said. “They had nothing but great things to say about the job that she did.”
Brandi said it was difficult to listen to audio of the 911 call.
“I struggled with the decision because I knew it was going to be hard to hear, but I wanted to hear what everybody else had heard,” she said of the clip that’s roughly 12 to 15 minutes long.
“Being 8 years old, some of the things that she had to go through in that moment, I don’t feel like any 8-year-old should ever have to do. Listening to it, I cried the first time. It’s still very emotional to listen to it, to know that she had to go through that.”
Emma said she was perhaps more frightened than she let on during the emergency call.
“When I called it, the lady across the line was asking a bunch of questions, like address and all that,” she said. “I started being a little confused, and then it was just crazy and a little scary at the time, too. ... I was worried about my mom the most.”
She also paid attention to her younger siblings, pausing from the 911 call at times to make sure they were OK.
“Sometimes I had to stop and tell them to watch a movie or something,” Emma said.
Keith Faddis, MARC’s director of public safety communications, said the agency administers 911 through interlocal agreements with nine counties: Platte, Clay, Ray, Jackson and Cass counties in Missouri, and Miami, Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas.
Part of MARC’s public outreach is providing materials and coordinating 911 training at area schools for students in kindergarten through third grade, he said.
This year, the programming has reached approximately 7,000 students, Faddis said.
“It’s significant (students) know how to do it and take the action to do it,” he said.
“We want to congratulate Emma. It is good news to hear about situations where these educational efforts make a difference.”
Brandi said Emma is deserving of the award MARC and the Fire Department have given her.
“She is an amazing kid,” Brandi said. “Even outside of this, she has the biggest heart.
She always puts others before herself. ... She’s definitely a very caring person.”