SF Kids Honored For Bravery During Medical Emergencies

Two San Francisco 10-year-olds were honored today for their bravery while making 911 calls in two situations where their mothers had medical emergencies.

At an afternoon ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, Catrina Corjito and Dante Parker were recognized for their lifesaving efforts and both given the 911 for Kids Local Heroes award.

This was the fourth year the city’s Department of Emergency Management has given the awards during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, held each year the second week of April.

The two dispatchers who picked up the 911 calls and coordinated the medical responses were also honored at the ceremony with a 911 Local Heroes medal of honor.

Catrina, wearing a pink headband and matching pink dress, accepted her certificate and medal, for the action she took on Jan. 6 from her Mission District home.

She called 911 when her mom was having trouble breathing and calmly relayed to her dispatcher, Lisa Farfan, her symptoms and stayed on the line.

A segment of the 911 call was played this afternoon and Catrina was heard saying, “She can’t breathe, she can’t even talk right now.”

Her mother, 41, who was at the today’s event, was transported to a hospital, treated and has since made a full recovery.

Farfan has been working as a San Francisco public safety dispatcher for 30 years and has fielded many emergency phone calls.

The city’s communications center receives about 1.2 million fire, police and medical calls each year.

Catrina’s call stood out, she said.

“As young as she was, she was articulate. She listened to my questions and answered them. What’s really important, she stayed on the line,” she said.

She added, “Adults wish they did half as well as she did.”

Catrina’s principal from Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood also attended and came up to thank Farfan.

Farfan met Catrina and her family at today’s award ceremony—something unusual for Farfan.

Once an emergency call is turned over to the appropriate fire, police or medical crews, a dispatcher moves onto the next call, Farfan said. She rarely learns about the outcomes of the situations she handles.

This time she was happy to know there was a good ending, she said.

Another 10-year-old made a courageous phone call in a separate incident also on Jan. 6.

Dante Parker called 911 from his family’s Richmond District home when his mother had debilitating abdominal pain.

Kim Tuyay, who received the 911 Heroes Medal of Honor last year for another call she handled with a child, was on the other end of the call and helped Dante get his mother help.

In a clip of Dante’s call, his humorous personality came through, when while pushing down panic about his mother on the floor, he asks the dispatcher, “How much is it going to cost to get an ambulance?”

Luckily medical crews were able to help his mother, who attended the ceremony.

She said she has fully recovered from a virus that attacked her stomach.

Dante said he would show his classmates his certificate and award Thursday and tell them about meeting the dispatcher who helped bring help for his mother.

He said he didn’t expect to get recognition for his actions, he was just “glad I helped. If I hadn’t helped, who would take care of me?”

He said he knew to be calm and that he remembered that lifesaving advice while making the 911 call.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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