911 Dispatcher Recognized After Saving Life of Parkland Woman

Fire Rescue

Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Rescue. {Photo by Aiden Palmer.}

By Sharon Aron Baron

After a 14-year-old girl in Parkland called 911 because her mother was not breathing, Telecommunications Supervisor Melissa Ayers instructed the teen how to perform CPR — saving the life of her mother.

Because of Ayers’s successful lifesaving efforts, on September 9, 2021, the Florida Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Service Section selected her as the Telecommunicator of the Year.

On April 30, 2020, Ayers answered the 911 call. After receiving basic information about the type of emergency, she instructed the teen to perform CPR, encouraging her to continue doing compressions several times throughout the call. 

Ayers also instructed her to send her sibling to open the front door to allow easy entry for responding paramedics. When the teen told Ayers her mother was now breathing, she instructed the girl to roll her mom onto her side, recovery position, and keep monitoring her breathing. The teen then reported that her mom turned purple, so Ayers instructed her to roll her back onto her back and resume CPR, all while encouraging her as she did chest compression. 

The teen did about 50 more compressions when paramedics entered, taking over life safety measures and transporting her to the hospital, where she recovered.

Hospital staff contacted Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division to report that Ayers’s actions helped save the woman’s life. Once the victim recovered, she and her daughter met with Ayers and members of the first responders from Fire Station 109. 

Ayers, who has served with the City of Coral Springs since 2005, received the prestigious Life Saving Commendation for the call from the Fire Department.

Telecommunications Supervisor Melissa Ayers.

Telecommunications Supervisor Melissa Ayers.

“Melissa is one of the reasons I am proud to say we have the best communications centers in the state, if not the nation,” said Coral Springs Police Chief Clyde Parry. “This position is often overlooked at being a first responder, but is arguably one the most valuable in public safety, as evident by her actions and this state award.”

Fire Chief Michael McNally added that Ayers diligence, quick action, and relay of vital information that day is a reminder of the critical role telecommunicators have in saving lives. 

“This type of responsive service our residents during life and death situations is what the residents of Coral Springs and Parkland have come to expect and deserve.”

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