LATHROP — A 7-year-old Lathrop girl – ironically named Angel – and two emergency dispatchers are receiving the California Outstanding 911 Heroes’ awards today at noon on the 11th Street steps of the state capitol in Sacramento.
Two California Highway Patrol dispatchers and a San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher will share in the award for facilitating the rescue of Angel’s mother who had fallen down a staircase in the family home and was unconscious.
NFL great Tim Brown, retired from the Oakland Raiders, chairman of 911 for Kids International has the honor of making the presentations to the trio and to other notable heroes from Santa Cruz and from Palmdale.
Stockton CHP Communication Center dispatcher Lisa Romine first thought she had a child on the line on Sept. 11 who was playing the 911 game with the telephone as law enforcement agencies do regularly receive thousands of calls from children statewide during the year that are baseless.
Romine quickly realized she was dealing with a real emergency. She established a dialog with the child to better assess the situation in the Lathrop home. Strangely enough Angel recognized the dispatcher’s voice as that of one of her mother’s friends and called her by her first name – “Lisa.”
This connection enforced the child’s confidence and strengthened a bond of understanding between the two and it also enhanced Angel’s ability to clearly articulate pertinent and critical life-saving information, according to Sheriff’s public safety dispatch supervisor Terry Mendoza.
While keeping the girl on the line and talking, Romine established a three-way conference call between herself, Angel and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s communications dispatcher Arlene Medrano.
The two dispatchers went to work as a team extracting as much information from the girl as they possibly could muster. Medrano asked Angel if her mother needed an ambulance and the girl replied that she did, noting that her mother had already been in an ambulance earlier that day and needed one again.
While Angel’s mother Shawna had regained consciousness, she was not able to move or effectively communicate, according to a dispatch supervisor. The girl stressed to the dispatchers on the telephone how worried she was about her mom and the women assured her that help was on the way.
A second CHP dispatcher, Kathy Okazaki, simultaneously began coordinating San Joaquin County emergency life-saving services through LifeCom’s dispatch center. Dispatcher Okazaki remained on the line with LifeCom and provided an invaluable link facilitating a timely flow of information between all involved parties. While working in unison, the three dispatchers were eventually able to accomplish their ultimate goal in locating Angel’s mother in the home with a correct address as quickly as possible and getting her the urgently needed medical attention.
The Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department and Manteca District Ambulance responded to the 911 emergency call from the dispatchers, and were the first responders at the home who treated Angel’s mom and transported the girl’s mother to an area hospital.