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Stay calm and call 911: Student helps save grandmother's life

Stay calm and call 911: Student helps save grandmother's life

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“Know your phone number. Know your address.”

Beverly Hills STEM Elementary School Nurse Pam Dunbar said she preaches this message constantly to young students. She knows they will need the information in case of an emergency or to call their parents when they are sick at school.

Recently, Dunbar was in her office when fifth-grader Kyara Stanback walked in and quietly said “I saved my grandmother’s life.”

“Grandma was choking, she had just moved into a new house. This child already knew her phone number, address and everything,” Dunbar said after calling the grandmother to confirm the story. “She called 911, she stayed with the operator, and she performed the Heimlich maneuver and everything. She did everything perfectly.”

Dunbar said Stanback is usually shy and reserved, so when she heard about her heroism she knew the school needed to do something to honor her.

Beverly Hills students, Concord firefighters, Beverly Hills staff and of course, grandma, recently gathered in the school gym to watch as Dunbar presented Stanback with a Smart Health Award, recognizing her for staying calm and quick thinking.

Before Stanback was brought into the gym Cynthia Little, grandma, told her story to some of the staff.

“I was eating an orange and I don’t know what happened. I got choked and I couldn’t catch a breath,” Little said. “I thought I’m not going to bother her because her room is next door. But I felt like I was going to black out. So I hit on the wall and she came right in and I couldn’t talk. She knew I was choking and she had her phone.”

Fearing for her grandma’s life, Stanback dialed 911 and told the operator everything that was happening.

Eventually Little caught her breath and EMS didn’t have to come, but it was a scary moment and Stanback stayed calm through the whole thing.

“She had a little bit of tears, but she didn’t really panic, panic,” Little said. “I was so proud.”

When Stanback reflected on the day, she said at first she was scared because she didn’t know what to do. Then she remembered to call 911 and how to do the Heimlich maneuver, which she said she learned by watching YouTube videos.

“I just remembered that if there’s an emergency, don’t go crazy and stay calm,” the 11-year-old said. “I feel really good and excited to get the award.”

Along with being honored by her school, Stanback was also recognized by the Concord Fire Department.

As he shook her hand and congratulated her on a job well done, Capt. Ben Klauder said Stanback did just what anyone in an emergency situation should.

“Stay calm, stay focused and make sure you communicate what is wrong when you call 911. She was able to state the problem and where she was,” he told her fellow classmates. “She is a true hero.”


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