MAKING THE RIGHT CALL: Va. kids honored for calling 911 during emergencies

- Three children are being honored for making the right call. They stepped up when it was needed the most during an emergency.

At first glance, Alden Yergey looks and sounds like your typical 10-year-old girl.

“My favorite subjects in school are math and social studies,” she said. “I like to play basketball and I have three dogs.”

Sounds normal enough, but in November 2013, Yergey was caught up in a medical emergency.

“I went and grabbed the phone and I dialed 911,” she said. “And then this lady answered, ‘Hello, this is 911,’ and I said my brother is having a seizure. And then she said, ‘Okay, what's the address? What's your address,’ and I said my address.”

At the time, Yergey was nine years old and her brother’s only hope of getting help.

Her mother was providing aid.

“She couldn't do it because she had to stay with my brother,” said Yergey.

“I was there but I couldn't call 911 at the same time, and so it made a huge difference for us,” said Sara Yergey, Alden’s mother. “I think it's very important. I know children get taught what to do.”

Ultimately, only one in 100 911 calls come from children, according to the Prince William County’s Office of Public Safety Communications.

Prince William County’s Make the Right Call program wants to make sure young people are prepared if an emergency strikes.

While school districts across the country are stretching budgets -- and in many cases, cutting budgets -- Making the Right Call in Prince William County has survived nearly two decades and taught countless kids along the way lifesaving skills.

“I believe we're the only ones that do it in the state of Virginia right now, but we have had many jurisdictions who have called and asked how to start up a program,” said Pam Mollenauer, who manages the Make the Right Call program.

This program shows children the importance of properly using 911.

“Even on the phone with the call taker, when they remained calm, she remained calm,” said Mollenauer. “She was able to make sure that she gave them the correct address, had the right phone number. She took every bit of instruction the call taker gave her and passed it on to mom and dad. In the end, we had a really good result.”

Alden Yergey has some advice for other young people who may find themselves in an emergency situation.

“Act like you're calling a friend and just tell them what's happening,” she said.

On September 12 at 1 p.m., Yergey will be honored alongside Evan Roseberry and Cassidy Wayson for “Making the Right Call.” The children are being honored by the Prince William County Office of Public Safety Communications at the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza as part of Public Safety Day.

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