Ill. fire dept. names girl, 7, a hero after 911 call

"Your ability to stay calm and provide information and render aid to your mother goes above and beyond what we would expect from someone your age," Fire Chief Mick Humer told her


Paul Swiech
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

NORMAL, Ill. — When her mother fell out of bed and began convulsing on the floor, Kylee Shepherd knew what to do.

She called 911, calmly explained to the Metcom 911 telecommunicator what was happening so he could relay the information to Normal Fire Department paramedics, unlocked the front door and stayed on the phone and with her mother until paramedics arrived.

Kylee Shepherd, 7, called 911 and calmly listened and followed the dispatcher's instructions to help her mom through a seizure while she waited for paramedics to arrive. (Photo/Normal Fire Department)
Kylee Shepherd, 7, called 911 and calmly listened and followed the dispatcher's instructions to help her mom through a seizure while she waited for paramedics to arrive. (Photo/Normal Fire Department)

Kylee Shepherd is 7 years old.

"She did a great job for someone of her age," Fire Chief Mick Humer told The Pantagraph.

Humer presented Kylee on Tuesday with the fire department's Youth Hero Award for her actions on Feb. 27.

"Your ability to stay calm and provide information and render aid to your mother goes above and beyond what we would expect from someone your age," Humer told Kylee as he presented her with the award at the fire department headquarters.

Kylee, wearing a dress with stars, smiled.

"I'm happy," said Kylee, a first-grader at Oakdale Elementary School in Normal.

Her mother, Amber Shepherd, fought back tears.

"I'm very proud ... that she was able to call 911 and stay calm," said Shepherd, 29. She described her daughter as smart, settled, helpful and caring.

Shepherd said she has had three seizures this year and her second one was on Feb. 27. Before a seizure, she feels nauseous and weak, then has a seizure with convulsions for about 20 minutes before coming out of it confused, she explained.

Asked what happens when her mom has a seizure, Kylee shook her body. "She was shaking," Kylee said.

After Shepherd's first seizure, Kylee said, "She told me if she would do this (shake), to call 911."

So that's what Kylee did on Feb. 27 when her mom fell out of bed and began convulsing, even though Kylee admitted being "scared and nervous."

"I was just sitting down and listening to her," Kylee said.

But when NFD Public Information Officer Matt Swaney played an edited audio of Kylee's 911 call to telecommunicator Hayden Veach, what was clear was that Kylee stayed calm and did everything Veach asked her to do except roll her mother on her side.

"No, she's too heavy," Kylee said on the 911 call, eliciting a smile from her mom.

"Kylee was so calm ..." Veach said. "She knew what I was saying so I was able to keep my tone low and talk with her directly. I was pretty amazed."

 

This afternoon, Normal Fire Department recognized 7-year-old Kylee Shepherd for calling 9-1-1 when her mother, Amber,...

Posted by Normal Fire Department (Normal, IL) on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Shepherd was in the hospital for one day for tests and observation. While the reason for her seizures hasn't been determined, she has seen a neurologist and is on anti-seizure medicine.

Humer, Shepherd and 911 Supervisor Rhonda Flegel said lessons from the experience are that children should know their address, to call 911 in emergencies and how to unlock their parents' cellphones. Kylee was able to unlock her mother's cellphone and used it to call 911.

"She's the ideal caller," Flegel said. "If all callers were as calm and collected as she is, that would make our jobs way easier."

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©2019 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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