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Calgary emergency responders honour young 9-1-1 heroes

Click to play video 'Calgary emergency responders honour young 9-1-1 heroes' Calgary emergency responders honour young 9-1-1 heroes
WATCH ABOVE: Eight young people in the Calgary area were formally honoured Friday for having the presence of mind to call 9-1-1 during an emergency. As David Boushy reports, they were all nominated by the emergency operators who took their calls last year.

Eight young people in the Calgary area were formally honoured Friday for having the presence of mind to call 9-1-1 during an emergency.

One of the honourees was Cali Dillon, who was in her Airdrie home with her mother last August when her mother suddenly became ill.

“I just did what I knew I had to,” said Dillon.

“I had to take a deep breath every few seconds in order to really just listen and get the information in my head.”

Dillon, who was eleven years old at the time, called 9-1-1, and Don Marisi, an emergency communications officer, took the call.

“The biggest thing I remember mostly is how Cali was just perfectly calm, and she followed instructions beautifully, and everything I needed to know she described with good detail,” Marisi said. “So I had a feeling like I was there, I knew exactly what was happening.”

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Cali’s mom was slipping in and out consciousness, but remembers waking up at one point and seeing her daughter.

“I feel so incredibly blessed to have her and know that she is someone other people can depend on as well in an emergency,” Holly Dillon said.

“She always likes to take a caretaker roll.”

In some of the other cases that received formal recognition Friday, young people helped strangers, as well as family members by helping to bring emergency crews to the scene as soon as possible.

Emergency responders said it’s encouraging.

“It’s a whole education system,” Richard Hinse, Calgary’s 9-1-1 commander said. “I think we’re starting really young with our young people understanding [they] call 9-1-1 when you need help…  so we’re getting that message out to – we saw today – even seven-year-olds, which I think that’s remarkable.”

As for Dillon, she said being called a hero feels pretty special.

“Everybody has always wanted to be either a princess or a superhero when they’re older, and this is more than that – you actually saved a life.”

All of the award recipients were nominated by the emergency operators who took their calls last year.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi, along with representatives from the Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Police Service and Alberta Health Services EMS Dispatch attended the award ceremony.

 

Tags: 9-1-1, emergency communications, EMS, police, fire, young heroes