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Mississippi girl, 9, honored for helping save brother’s life

SALTILLO, Mississippi (AP) – Emergency officials honored a fourth-grade student at Saltillo Elementary School on December 10 for helping save her brother’s life.

Lee County 911, the Saltillo Fire Department, the Saltillo Police Department and Saltillo Elementary School all took the time to honor the actions of 9-year-old Addison Burleson in Ginnie Waite’s class at Saltillo primary school. First responders also presented Burleson with an E-911 plaque to recognize his composure under pressure.

“The school is extremely proud of all of our students, but Addison was on top of the game that day,” Deputy Principal Michael Coggins said.

Burleson was home alone in late November when she noticed something was wrong with her 20-year-old brother. He is prone to epileptic seizures and she has recognized the sounds he makes when he has them.

The girl’s mother, Kelley Burleson, is a paramedic and has trained the family in a series of protocols to deal with everything from medical issues to fires to intruders. So it was second nature for Addison to walk into her brother’s room, press the emergency button on his cell phone, and call 911.

“We take kids’ calls all the time,” said Jason Nichols, deputy manager of Lee County 911, who was handling the phones that afternoon. “She remained calm throughout the call. She set a great example of how children should be taught to be ready to call 911. ”

Addison was able to give the 911 dispatcher her physical home address and phone number in case they were cut. She told them her brother was barely breathing and had had seizures since he was 14.

When Burleson told the dispatcher that his brother was bleeding from his mouth, he asked him to turn the patient on his side.

“She put the phone on speakerphone so the dispatcher could still hear her,” Lee County 911 quality assurance manager Tanya Mayo said. “That’s when she said she was only 9 and couldn’t turn her brother over.”

Addison first told the dispatcher that paramedics should come through the back door because no one is using the front door. After thinking about it, she then said to go to the front door as it would be closer to the brother’s room.

“If you were a little older, I would offer you a job,” Nichols told him jokingly.

Kelley Burleson was not surprised at the way her little girl handled the situation.

“She’s got a pretty strong character,” she said, adding that the family had protocols for various emergencies they might face.

“For seizures, his job is to go get the oxygen tank while I roll it to the side,” Kelley Burleson said. “We are very proud of her.”

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