5-year-old honored for keeping cool, calling 911 when her father was hurt

September 05, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Hanna Yim is a cute, 5-year-old, shy on the outside -- and solid as a rock underneath.

On Aug. 20, the cool-headed first-grader dialed 911 to report that her father, Charles Yim, had fallen in his bedroom that morning, cut his head and was bleeding.

She stayed on the telephone for seven minutes, giving dispatcher Janet Franks the pertinent information and following instructions until an ambulance arrived at the family's apartment on Wheaton Way in Ellicott City.

Mr. Yim was transported to Howard County General Hospital, where he was released after receiving five stitches.

Yesterday, County Executive Charles I. Ecker joined fire and rescue and emergency communications officials in honoring Hanna.

At a ceremony attended by her mother and 150 of her schoolmates at St. John's Lane Elementary School in Ellicott City, Hanna received a teddy bear and certificate of appreciation.

"She's very smart, very articulate and very bright," said Battalion Chief Donald R. Howell, spokesman for the county's fire and rescue services. "She did all the right things like an adult."

Mr. Howell said he has seen adults in emergencies who cannot talk, let alone remember their ages or addresses.

Recalling the event yesterday, Hanna said: "I called 911 and said, 'My Dad's head is bleeding.' "

On the emergency service tape of the call, Hanna can be heard asking for an ambulance and detailing her father's injuries.

"I'm a little child," she said. After help arrived, she told the dispatcher, "Goodbye."

"I thank God she dialed 911 because you never know what would have happened if she weren't there," Mr. Yim said of his only child in a telephone interview yesterday.

He said he had lost consciousness, possibly because of stress, and believes he bumped his head on the furniture. The situation could have been life-threatening, he said.

"I'm surprised by my daughter," said a proud Mrs. Yim, who runs a liquor store in Baltimore City with her husband. "She saved my husband's life."

St. John's Lane Principal Yvonne Harrison, who oversees about 830 students, said Hanna is an example for other children who need to understand the importance of 911 calls.

"They can see it's easy to do," she said.

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