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10-year-old honored as a hero

September 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ana Fernandez, 10, was honored on Wednesday as a "local hero" for calling 911 for her injured infant sister.Ana, a student at Red Maple Elementary in Moreno Valley, received the county's first "911 Local Hero" award during a ceremony at her school.

On July 22, Ana's 10-month-old sister, Denise, partially swallowed a clothes hanger that got caught in the toddler's mouth. Ana's mother was trying to free the hanger when she turned and instructed her daughter to dial 911.

"My sister got a hanger into her mouth, and we can't take it out," a panicked Ana told a 911 dispatcher in a recording of the incident.

The dispatcher asked several questions, and paramedics were immediately dispatched to the home. Ana's mother managed to free the hanger moments before first responders reached the location.

Baby Denise is now doing fine, officials said.

"Ana used the 911 system efficiently and quickly and provided the dispatcher the necessary information to get help to her home," said Riverside County Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera.

Fire Chief John Hawkins and Moreno Valley Police Chief John Anderson personally congratulated the 10-year-old, who is the first in Riverside County to earn recognition under the "911 for Kids" program, recently implemented in the county.

Under the program, administered by a nonprofit group that works with public safety agencies across the country, kids from pre-kindergarten through elementary school grades are taught the basics of how to use 911 and what information to give a dispatcher.

All 17 battalions of the county fire department will receive instructional guides and materials published by "911 for Kids" to facilitate classroom presentations and other efforts to educate nearly 80,000 Riverside County schoolchildren.

 

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