Monday, April 13, 2015

Giving thanks for a life saved

When your child isn’t breathing, nothing is more important than getting help as quickly as possible. On January 30, 2015, Crystal Finlay found herself in that situation when she heard funny noises coming from the baby monitor in her 16-month-old daughter’s room and went to investigate. Her daughter, Avrylyn, was having difficulty breathing and was turning blue. Crystal called 9-1-1 and was transferred to Public Safety Communications (PSC), Calgary’s 9-1-1 centre, and received the help she needed to save her daughter’s life.

The Finlays travelled from Olds to Calgary on March 25 to meet Emergency Communications Officer Don Marisi, who promptly provided life-saving support over the phone that helped save their daughter.

“I don’t know what I would have done without you,” said Crystal when she finally met Marisi face-to-face. “Thank you for being there when I needed you.”

The Findlay family was invited to tour the 9-1-1 operations centre and meet Marisi. Avrylyn and her older siblings, Teyden and AJ, were delighted to also toured through an ambulance and police cruiser. 

Finding closure after a stressful event

At times, our calls come in so quickly that we don’t get the opportunity to follow up after an intense situation or get an update on a patient’s condition,” said Marisi. “Having the opportunity to meet Crystal and her family, especially Avrylyn, is a sincere privilege because you get to speak face-to-face with the person who was on the other end of the phone during that critical moment.”

Avrylyn recovered fully from the incident and Finlay notes having the opportunity to meet Marisi helped her find closure after the stressful event.

Say #thanks911 this week

“I don’t know how [they] do it,” said Finlay. “Without [PSC], there would be a lot people who wouldn’t get by.”

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is being celebrated this week, April 12 to 18, to recognize the important role emergency communications officers play in emergency services. They are the first to answer the call for help and must use critical thinking and compassion to establish a connection with callers and get them the help they need.

Go to our Facebook event page to tell your story or just say #thanks911.

To learn more about your 9-1-1 Centre and the role of an emergency communications officer visit

Submitted by Tanja McMorris, Public Safety Communications

1 comment:

  1. What a great story. Thanks to all emergency responders!