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Young Calgary-area 9-1-1 heroes awarded for bravery, maturity in time of need

They showed poise in situations that may put most adults into a bit of a panic.

Only they’re between 10 and 14 years old.

Calgary 9-1-1 recognized seven Calgary and area youth with 9-1-1 Heroes Awards for their bravery and maturity in handling moments of crisis for them, their families or to help others.

Hayley Tibeau, 13, was walking in her Chestermere community when she heard a fire alarm in a nearby home. Tibeau knocked on the door twice to see if anyone was home. When there was no response, she returned home and called 9-1-1.

“I was pretty nervous. It was my first time ever calling 911,” she said after receiving her award.

“I was really wondering what was going on and I was just hoping everyone was OK.”

Thankfully, it was a faulty smoke detector, and no one was harmed.

Glenda Sahlen, Deputy Chief of 9-1-1, said the day was important for the kids and their families, but also for the 9-1-1 operators. She said someone had obviously taken the time to teach the kids when and how to call 9-1-1.

“It makes it much easier for our Calgary 9-1-1 ECOs (Emergency Communications Officer) to get the information to put up the calls, and the time makes a difference,” Sahlen said.

“The calmer the child is the quicker we get the information and the quicker we can get help on scene.”

The youth were nominated by the ECOs that handled their calls.   

Audio portions of the 9-1-1 calls were played during the awards presentation. You couldn’t sense an ounce of panic in their voices.  Their calls included car crashes, stolen vehicles and fires.

“The bravery of our heroes, and their ability to stay cool under pressure is something that should be celebrated,” said Susan Henry, Calgary 9-1-1 Chief.

“These children have set an example that everyone can learn from – knowing when and how to call 9-1-1 is a skill that can save lives.”

Hero stories

From left: Dylan O’Keefe, Jaxon Erickson, Ramiza Ahmed, Reem Abo Sheffa, Mohamad Kazmuoz, Ben Donegan and Hayley Tibeau. DARREN KRAUSE / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Hayley Tibeau, 13

Hayley was walking in her community in Chestermere when she heard a fire alarm going off at a nearby house. Concerned for the residents, she knocked on the door to see if any one was home (twice), and when no one answered she ran home to call 9-1-1. Hayley took note of the address the alarm was going off at and made sure all important information was provided to the 9-1-1 Emergency Communication Officer. The Calgary Fire Department responded to the house and thankfully it turned out to be a faulty alarm.

Mohamad Kazmuoz, 10

Mohamad, assisting with translation for his parents, called in to report their family vehicle was stolen overnight. The 10-year-old was very articulate, provided his family vehicle details and answered all the questions the Emergency Communications Officer was asking in completing a stolen vehicle report. He also helped translate very important instructions to his parents about contacting their insurance company and ensuring if they saw the vehicle anywhere to not go near it and to call police right away.

Reem Abo Sheffa, 14

Reem called in to report there had been a hit and run accident outside their home and that their vehicle was damaged. She assisted in translating for her father and providing the Emergency Communications Officer important information about the vehicles involved. Reem also ensured that no one was hurt in the collision and relayed important safety instructions to her family and bystanders so no one else was in harm’s way.

Ben Donegan, 10

Ben called 9-1-1 because he witnessed a rollover motor vehicle collision. Ben’s mom is a nurse, so while she went to help the people in the vehicle, Ben made a call to 9-1-1 to ensure help was on the way. Ben confirmed their location and gave the Emergency Communications Officer very critical information, including that someone was trapped in one of the vehicles and that there were a lot of fluids on the ground from the cars. Police, Fire and EMS all arrived very quickly because of all the important, lifesaving information Ben provided.

Jaxon Erickson and his friend Dylan Okeefe, 11, 12

This pair were hanging out in Irricana when they came across a male who was acting funny and possibly needed some help who started a grass fire. Jaxon and Dylan knew exactly where they were so firefighters could get to them quickly. They provided very important details of the event, including that the fire was moving towards some trees and that the male needed help. They followed all the Emergency Communications Officer’s safety instructions and stayed on the line to them up to date on any changes they were witnessing on scene. Because of this Irricana Fire arrived on scene quickly, were able to put out the fire and prevent any extensions to structures in the area and got the male some much needed help.

Ramiza Ahmed, 11

Ramiza called 9-1-1 because she and her mom were in a motor vehicle collision. She also helped translate for her mom. Being on a road made it more difficult to find an address but Ramiza was able to tell the Emergency Communications Officer the name of a business they were behind and a nearby park, so they could make sure Police, Fire and EMS were going to the right location. Ramiza was very calm and was able to answer all questions including vehicle details and whether anyone had injuries. She also made sure everyone stayed safe until first responders arrived.