Eight-Year-Old Girl Honored for Courageous Call for Help

After seeing her mother fall down the stairs, eight-year-old Katie Lee called 9-1-1 to get help for her mother, Laurie, who was bleeding from a head injury.

For this act of courage, the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications — the county’s 9-1-1 Center– will give her its 9-1-1 Citizen Lifesaver Award.

She is only the third person to receive this award, which will be presented before 320 school students at the Stratford Landing Elementary School at 9:45 AM today (Wednesday, June 6).

“It’s not often that we get a call from an 8-year-old, but Katie showed remarkable poise and composure for anyone — whatever their age,” said Steve Souder, director of the Department of Public Safety Communications. “Head injuries can be life threatening, and Katie definitely deserves to be called a lifesaver.”

The basics 

Katie recently learned how to call 9-1-1 at her school as she told the call taker. To teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, the center sends information to every elementary school in the county, and center staff visits schools regularly.

The county’s call takers say that it’s important for every child to:

  • Know their home address or location from where they’re calling
  • Learn their phone number
  • Know their parents’ names
  • Stay on the phone to answer questions from call takers

Because Fairfax County led the creation a regional computer-aided dispatch system, emergency response time has been cut by 50 percent across the participating Northern Virginia jurisdictions.

This system connects the county, City of Fairfax, City of Alexandria and Arlington County, allowing call centers in these jurisdictions to share information. The Department of Homeland Security lauded Fairfax County with a national award for its work on this system.

Last year, the center received 394,233 9-1-1 calls with an average speed of two seconds. 9-1-1 call takers are the first of the first responders — dispatching fire, police and emergency medical personnel and helping to save countless lives. Fairfax County’s 9-1-1 Center is always there, always ready, 24/7/365.

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