- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2002

A veteran D.C. 911 dispatcher is being hailed as a heroine after guiding the frantic father of a nearly drowned toddler through resuscitation procedures yesterday morning until paramedics arrived at his Northwest home.

Shortly before 11:30, Lt. Wanda Calloway, a 24-year employee of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, received a call from a father who had briefly stepped away while giving his 1-year-old daughter a bath and returned to find her submerged.

Lt. Calloway determined that the toddler still had a heartbeat and instructed the father in rescue-breathing techniques, officials said.

D.C. firefighters and paramedics from Engine Co. 22 on Georgia Avenue NW arrived at the third-floorapartment in the 900 block of Longfellow Street NW within two minutes, said Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter. One paramedic squeezed fluid out of the unconscious toddler, who was not breathing.

"She had fine heart rhythm and she was trying to breathe, but simply could not because of all the water that was in her lungs," said Mr. Etter. "She couldn't take any air in."

Mr. Etter saidcardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is not employed when a victim's heart is beating, adding that the father stepped away from the bathtub for no more than two minutes.

The toddler was immediately taken to Children's Hospital, where she was in serious condition yesterday. The little girl regained consciousness while enroute to the hospital, officials said.

"They did a pretty good job of keeping this little girl alive," Mr. Etter said. "Hopefully, this little girl is going to make it."

He praised Lt. Calloway, saying, "She described directions to the guy step by step and she calmed him down. She helped with his attitude and disposition."

EMS had not filed a report, and the D.C. police department cannot investigate the incident unless they do so, a police spokesman said.


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