Entries in Emergency (6)


Student, 13, Drives Bus to Safety When Driver Faints

George Doyle/Stockbyte(MILTON, Wash.) -- A middle school student who jumped into the hot seat when his school bus driver passed out on the way to class Monday morning is being hailed as a "quick thinker" for leading the bus, and 15 other students, to safety.

Seventh grader Jeremy Wuitschick is being praised by the local police chief for his actions when the driver of his school bus started gasping for air and waving his hands frantically in the air, losing control of the bus.

Wuitschick hopped out of his seat and grabbed the steering wheel, pulling the bus over to the side of the road before pulling the keys from the ignition, Milton Police Chief Bill Rhodes said Monday.

"I'll tell you, I'll give the kid credit for fast thinking. He did the right thing and we're going to do something for him. The kid definitely deserves credit," Rhodes told ABC News.

Police officers were notified of a school bus driving erratically through town around 8 a.m. Monday, but by the time a officer arrived at the scene, Wuitschick had it under control. He had pulled the bus over in front of Discovery Primary School, which is adjacent to the school where the students were headed, Surprise Lake Middle School.

"I knew something was wrong," Wuitschick told ABC affiliate KOMO. "It was pretty scary. I was just acting on instinct. It was all happening really quickly."

Jeff Short, assistant superintendent for the Fife school district, said the students had been trained in emergency situations on the school bus, including how to shut down the bus in an emergency.

A staff member at the school, John McCrossin, happened to be driving behind the bus when the driver lost consciousness, and rushed onto the bus to administer CPR once Wuitschick had pulled over to the side of the road, Rhodes said. The kids told McCrossin they had already called 911.

The bus driver, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital. Emergency service personnel told school administrators he was suffering from a problem related to the heart. Short said his condition was "grave."

Rhodes said that there were no traffic accidents or other injuries.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thirsty Utah Boy Stuck in Chimney for Hours Trying to Get Drink

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH) -- A thirsty 8-year-old Utah boy attempted to climb down a couple's chimney to ask for a drink but ended up getting stuck in the chimney for at least four hours.

Firefighters rescued the boy, Stephen Hopkins, from Richard and Sandy Draper's chimney in West Valley City, Utah, on Friday.

Sandy Draper, 60, said the boy had played earlier in the day with her 8-year-old granddaughter and 5-year-old grandson. She said she had never met the boy before Friday.

Draper made toast for Stephen and he drank a glass of water during the afternoon. He played on the swings with her grandchildren. At around 2:45 p.m., Draper said, she sent the boy home because she needed to run errands.

When she returned home at around 4:10 p.m., she thought she heard a voice but assumed it was kids playing outside, she said. She and her husband dashed off to dinner.

"When we came back at 7:30 p.m., we came in and we hear this voice and Richard [her husband] said, 'Oh there's kids in the backyard,' and I say, 'Oh, I bet I left the TV on,'" Draper said.

It wasn't kids playing or a television turned on, but the 8-year-old boy crying for help.

"We could just hear this voice…I couldn't articulate the words until I hit the fireplace in the basement," she said.

When Draper asked how the boy got into the chimney, he said that he had climbed up a tree in the couple's yard to reach the chimney. He would later tell police that he was thirsty and was trying to get into the home for a drink of water.

Attempts to reach Stephen's family were unsuccessful. Police said that they are not investigating any charges of child neglect. The boy had been left in the care of his teenaged siblings and was last seen by his family at around 11 a.m. Friday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The boy told the Drapers a different story: that he was staying with his grandparents for the next three days.

Draper and her husband called authorities at around 7:30 p.m., around the same time that Stephen's family called to report him missing.

The boy made it nearly 30 feet down the chimney and got lodged in the couple's basement.

While the boy was lodged in the basement, firefighters were able to get him out by breaking through a wall in the Draper family's living room.

"A big burly fireman carried him out and he looked at everyone and then he hid his face," Draper said. "He was this blond, blue-eyed kid covered in black."

West Valley City Police said the boy was taken to the hospital on Friday but suffered only scrapes.

"I'm just glad he went down foot first," Draper said. "What's haunting for us is what could have been...who would look in their chimney for a missing child....We kind of can have humor in it now because it turned out well."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Emergency Declared in Three Southern States over Deadly Storms

FEMA/Tim Burkitt (WASHINGTON) -- President Obama declared Wednesday an emergency for three southeastern states -- Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky -- affected by tornadoes and severe storms that left behind damage and flooding in the region last week.

The president's declaration provides federal disaster aid to the areas and allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the natural disasters.

In Mississippi, 11 counties will receive government assistance: Adams, Bolivar, Claiborne, Coahoma, DeSoto, Issaquena, Jefferson, Tunica, Warren, Washington, and Wilkinson.

The declaration also covers Dyer, Lake, Shelby, and Stewart counties in Tennessee and several counties in Kentucky.

Last week, the multiple tornadoes and thunderstorms ripped through the South, devastating dozens of cities and killing over 300 people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Could Being Able to Text 911 Save Lives?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When a gunman was prowling the halls of Virginia Tech University on April 16, 2007 on a shooting rampage that left 33 people dead, dozens of students and staff sent texts to 911 trying to get help.

But those texts were never received, because the local 911 center -- like most across the country, including ones in major cities -- could only handle basic phone calls.

An estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 in the United States each year.  According to the Federal Communications Commission, 70 percent of them are wireless calls made from devices that can also send valuable information in the form of texts, pictures and video.

"Funding has just simply not been able to keep 911 centers current with 21st century technology," said Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).  "Most of the 911 centers across the country today are stuck in the 1960s and 1970s technology."

More and more people are found to be in situations where they can't speak or are in danger if they make noise, like in the Virginia Tech massacre.

As a result, in November 2010 the FCC began a push to overhaul the 911 emergency system to allow users to text 911 during times when picking up a phone and dialing the police might not be a safe option.

You might be surprised at who's leading the way to the 21st century: rural Black Hawk County, Iowa where the population is 130,000, about 14 percent of the population of New York City.  It's the only place in the entire country where dispatchers have the technology to respond to emergency text messages.

Some officials are wary of texting's downside, however, and suggest trying to stick to the old fashion way first.

"You could just imagine someone who is nervous trying to text on a cell phone," said Jose Santiago, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management.  "You could make a lot of mistakes, you're not getting that vital information quickly and that's why a phone call is so important."

Chicago recently added technology that allows police to receive cell phone photos, but only after people first call 911.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chicago to Allow 911 Photos and Videos

Stockbyte/ThinkStock(CHICAGO) -- Chicago has become one of the first cities where in addition to calling 911, people can now also send cell phone photos to authorities when reporting an emergency.

City officials are hoping the option will help authorities when investigating cases. Officials say the photos will be sent to the police crime-prevention center, following which, it will be determined if the images are helpful to investigators. Officials tell ABC News that currently they are only accepting photos, but they hope to evenutally be able to allow callers to send video as well.

Callers may volunteer to send the images, providing that they know how to do so, and won't require dispatchers to explain how to send images as this may delay emergency responses.

The city began receiving photo and video images in September during a pilot program, which appears to have been successful. Officials say over 40 images have been sent in to authorities so far.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dozens Sickened, 8 Hospitalized After Colo. Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GUNNISON, Colo.) -- Eight people have been hospitalized in serious condition after a carbon monoxide poisoning during a youth hockey tournament Sunday in Gunnison, Colo., reports local ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV.

According to a hospital press release, 54 adults, teens and children suffered some degree of exposure while at the local ice rink.

Randy Phelps, chief executive officer at Gunnison Valley Health Hospital, said of the eight victims transported, two were sent to Denver for hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatment. The chamber is designed to reduce carbon monoxide levels and restore oxygen levels as quickly as possible.

It is not yet known how the leak may have been caused.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio