Dispatcher helped save child’s life

Published 8:25 pm Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy ending: Chilton County 911 dispatcher Kelly Smitherman, center, was recognized Thursday for helping save the life of the infant niece of Shannon Cobb, left. 911 Director Dan Wright presented Smitherman with an award.

Dispatchers with Chilton County’s 911 service deal with emergencies every day.

But it’s not every day that a dispatcher can say he or she directly helped save someone’s life.

Kelly Smitherman was recognized at Thursday’s 911 board meeting as doing just that.

Smitherman took a call on Sept. 2 about an infant who had choked and stopped breathing, and she walked the caller, Shannon Cobb, through administering the “baby Heimlich” maneuver.

“We were getting together for Labor Day, like we always do,” Cobb told the board Thursday. “I was terrified. The first thing I did was pick up my phone and call 911. She was so calm, and she told me what to do.

“If it wasn’t for her telling us what to do at the time, my niece would no longer be here.”

One-year-old Kaylin Campbell, Cobb’s niece, choked on a hot dog and then fell into a pool. After several minutes of talking with Smitherman, relatives were able to dislodge the food.

911 Director Dan Wright replayed the call for board members before presenting Smitherman with an award.

“That’s why we do this job: to help people,” Wright said.