NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — Dispatchers are often our first line of defense in an emergency, but it’s rare to ever meet the person who helps on the other end of the line.
The Flynn and Kepler families don’t take the little moments for granted with their baby girl which is why they wanted to thank the man that helped them save her life.
They came within minutes of losing little Wren, who was just two months old when she suddenly stopped breathing. Cal Fire dispatcher Chris Africa picked up the 911 call from father John Flynn.
“He said ‘My baby is not breathing’ and I said ‘okay,’ I knew immediately we needed to start CPR,” Africa said.
Africa walked Flynn through every step of infant CPR, keeping Wren’s heartbeat going. Twelve minutes passed, but it seemed like an eternity, Flynn said, before an ambulance reached their home in Lake of the Pines.
Flynn and his wife were told to brace for the worst, but Wren is a fighter. She was put in a medically-induced coma and pulled through after spending two months in the hospital. She’s now happy and healthy.
“So far, seizure-free, and she’s just thriving… she’s doing wonderful,” Kepler said.
Her family, overwhelmed with gratitude, was also ready to thank the man on the other end of that life-changing phone call.
“I was blown away. To know that a family wanted to get together to have this experience is just phenomenal.” Africa said.
Flynn and Africa were both presented with “Heart Saver Hero” awards, but Flynn said it’s Africa who deserves the high praise for saving his little girl when every second counted.
“I’m just glad he gets the recognition…. and I was just there. And I did what he told me to do,” Flynn said.
Doctors say Wren suffered a “near SIDS event.” Chris Africa said this serves as a good reminder to learn infant CPR.