East Midlands Ambulance Service to present bravery award to Derbyshire sisters

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

East Midlands Ambulance Service are visiting Springfield Junior School on Wednesday 21st June to make a special presentation to one of its pupils and her younger sister.

Leila and Florence Moore were being cared for by their child-minder, Natasha Papanicalau on 29 May 2012, along with four younger children. Natasha injured her foot when she accidentally dropped a heavy golf buggy battery on her foot - the pain caused her to collapse and faint. She came round but was unable to move and so called to Leila who is 8 years old, to ring 999.

The call was picked up by East Midlands Ambulance Service call taker, Lynda Bojko, and she was assisted by team leader Jeff Wheat. He said: "Leila did a fantastic job. She was clearly distressed and frightened by what had happened but she didn't panic and listened to the questions Lynda asked. If she wasn't able to give a direct answer, she tried to give other information that would help us identify where they were and what the problem was.

"As well as helping us to find them, Leila described where her mother worked so I could make contact with her. She also asked her younger sister Florence to get the other four children together and keep them in a safe area so they would come to no harm."

Despite all the anxiety she must have felt, Leila could be heard comforting Natasha and the children saying, 'don't worry, it'll all be fine, I've got an ambulance coming.'

Jeff and Lynda will attend Leila's school in the morning to make the presentation. They are also using the opportunity to educate all the children there by giving a short talk on when and how to call 999.

The children's child-minder has been praised by their mother, Charlotte Moore, for the way she has prepared the children for an emergency. Charlotte said: "Before the incident, Natasha had realised the importance of talking to the children about what to do if things go wrong, and I am grateful to her because this clearly helped Leila and Florence in this real-life emergency. It is so important for parents and child-minders to talk with children about emergencies, so they at least have the comfort of knowing what to do. I am very proud of my two girls."

Natasha added: "This experience has reinforced my belief that children should be educated by adults who care for them so they know what to do in an emergency. It can be very frightening when things go wrong, and so it's important to talk with children in a safe environment - perhaps by reading a story that has an emergency theme or by role play with emergency service dressing up outfits and phones. I have shared this experience with other child-minders in the area so they too can see the benefit of preparing children for emergencies.

"Leila and Florence did a fantastic job and rightly deserve the recognition they are getting from the ambulance service."

EMAS contacted the school and asked if they could make the presentation to the children during an assembly. The school was delighted to not only help recognise the achievement of the girls, but also to use the opportunity to get the pupils to think about the action they would take in an emergency.

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