McKenzie Davis is a 21-year-old with a job where it pays to keep her cool. A 911 dispatcher in Flagler County, Florida, she’s gone through training to be able to help others when disaster strikes.
The job stays interesting, to put it lightly. As Davis told The Daytona Beach News-Journal: “No routine call is ever a routine call.”
And that was never more clear than on the afternoon of Sept. 6, when Davis, who’s been working at this job for two years, was faced with two life-or-death situations within roughly an hour.
The first one occurred a little after 3:30 p.m. A frantic mother was on the other end of the line, saying that her 6-month-old baby had stopped breathing.
“The baby was turning color and I knew it needed CPR right away,” Davis explained. She coached the mom through CPR, and it was successful.
“When the mother told me the baby was breathing, it was a weight lifted off my chest,” Davis said. “I think I did a pretty loud exhale. When she told me the baby was crying, I said ‘That’s good. That means he’s breathing.'”
After being resuscitated, the baby was taken to a hospital. Davis said the case hit close to home, as she has a 7-month-old niece — but she didn’t have long to reflect on the situation before her full attention was needed elsewhere.
At around 4:38, another frantic caller dialed 911.
“As soon as I picked up the phone, I knew it was going to be a bad one,” Davis said. “When somebody is screaming on the phone, you can’t understand what they are saying.”
“You have to get them to take a deep breath and have them explain the situation.”
Davis had the caller put her on speakerphone so everyone present could hear her instructions and take turns trying to revive the 71-year-old man until first responders arrived.
“This is one of those things where we are trained where you have to move on to the next call,” Davis said. “If I was still freaked out about the 6-month-old baby, I wouldn’t necessarily been there to help the 71-year-old.”
Thankfully, deputies and then paramedics were soon on the scene, and the latter reported that the man had a strong pulse. He was revived and is expected to make a full recovery.
Davis’ work has been commended by more than those in her immediate circle: The sheriff’s office and thankful families and community members have shown their appreciation to the dispatcher as well.
“She did a phenomenal job,” Sheriff Rick Staly told The News-Journal. “Our dispatchers are our lifeline to the community. They are on the front line for all first responders in Flagler County.
“To do back-to-back lifesaving events is testament to her ability as a dispatcher and a prime example of what our dispatchers do day in and day out.”
In another statement, Staly praised Davis for her cool-headedness and calm, confident instructions that ultimately ended up helping to save two lives.
He told People: “911 is the number you call in your darkest hour and it is the voice on the other end of the line that can help you through whatever situation you are facing.”
“In these cases, McKenzie was able to not only calm the callers down enough to listen to the instructions, but she was also able to count with them to ensure they were doing compressions as often as required,” the sheriff added. “Already this year she has helped save four lives. She is a true hero and a great partner with our deputies in the field.”
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