Six-year-old Jaycee Berezowski received the Red Cross Rescuer Award recently; her life-saving actions show how crucial practice can be in a crisis.
Jaycee’s mom, Jenine, had all her wisdom teeth removed and was recovering at her boyfriend’s house. She was taking pain medication and after a couple of days with no ill effects, Jenine’s boyfriend returned to work, leaving Jenine to rest and recover with her daughter, Jaycee.
“A half an hour after I took my pills, the pain hit me so hard it actually winded me to the ground and then I couldn’t breathe. It was pretty scary,” Jenine says.
“Jaycee saw that I was in distress, that I couldn’t breathe. I had a hot flash and I felt very nauseous, so I made my way to the bathroom. I remember feeling very hot and very scared. I could hear my little girl talking on the phone, but I couldn’t really take it in. And then I blacked out.”
Even as she blacked out, Jenine had heard correctly, her young daughter was on the phone with 911 getting help for her mom.
Jaycee kept a cool head, recognized that her mom needed assistance, and called the emergency line.
But there’s more.
Jaycee was 6 at the time, so she had learned her home address. But they weren’t at home. They were staying at her mom’s boyfriend’s house, so she didn’t know the address. Jaycee figured out that she needed to go to the corner of the street so that she could read the street name to tell the 911 operator where to send the paramedics.
While waiting for the paramedics, the operator instructed Jaycee to flip her mom over to ensure unobstructed breathing, and to count her breaths.
The paramedics arrived, assessed the situation, and took Jenine to hospital where she remained overnight to monitor her extremely low blood pressure.
Jaycee likely saved her mother’s life.
None of this happened by magic. Jaycee is an extraordinary person who kept calm in a crisis and her mother gave her the tools she needed to respond well.
“When Jaycee was four years old, one day it occurred to me, what if something happened to me, and it’s just me and her? What would she do?” Jenine explains. “So, I showed her how to hold the power and volume button on the phone at the same time so that she could access the SOS button. And I refreshed her on it a year ago and asked her what she would do if I fell to the ground? She quickly grabbed my phone and we acted it out. I asked her what she would say to 911 and how would she explain where we are. What to expect if she was ever in that situation. So, she had that prior knowledge and that’s how she knew exactly what to do.”
Practice cannot make your response perfect, but it certainly helps.
“Reviewing how to respond in an emergency increases your chances of keeping cool, remembering your training, and acting to help save a life,” says Michelle Dandenault, First Aid Representative for the Canadian Red Cross.
Along with the Red Cross Rescuer award, Jaycee received a Red Cross blanket, a whistle, a glow stick and two teddy bears – one from the paramedics and one from the Canadian Red Cross.
On their upcoming road trip, Jaycee is insisting that she take the Red Cross blanket with her. “It’s so fluffy!”
The Red Cross Rescuer Award acknowledges the efforts of non-professional rescuers who go out of their way to save a life, prevent further injury and/or provide comfort to the injured. As well, the Canadian Red Cross recognizes children who, without training, provided help.
Prepare for you own emergencies. Sign up for a first aid course in your area.