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Deputies believe a toddler accidentally dialed 9-1-1 as his father lay unconscious on the floor. That accidental call led to one man’s life being saved in Hernando County on Tuesday.
An hour north of the hustle and bustle of Tampa and Clearwater sits the town of Spring Hill, filled with quiet roads and neighborhoods. But for Hernando County Sheriff’s deputy, Nathan Kent, Tuesday’s response to a toddlers accidental hang-up call would lead to anything but a subtle morning there. Deputy Kent says, “The 9-1-1 hang up calls are very common for us. We get quite a few of them due to people having disabled cell phones and their kids play with them.”
Deputy Kent was dispatched Tuesday just before 11:00 a.m., recounting, “[Dispatchers] could hear a kid playing on the phone so we thought it was another accidental 9-1-1 hang up.” As a precaution, Deputy Kent answered the service call and says the first thing he noticed when arriving on-scene was a toddler with no clothing on, walking in the parking lot of that apartment complex and without supervision.
“Having a kid myself, I was more concerned, ‘Hey, why is there an unsupervised kid’ and then that’s when I started looking around and I saw the apartment complex door open with a bunch of kid toys,” Kent said.
Upon approaching the residence, Kent yelled out to announce his presence but heard nothing back. “Looked in, didn’t see anybody, see anything, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s walk in here and see where they are’. And that’s when I was walking in the back of the apartment complex in the master bedroom and saw the gentleman laying on the floor,” he said. “Advised dispatch, ‘We have an unconscious male’.” That’s when Kent says he began performing chest compressions on the child’s father who was having a medical episode.
Minutes later the man gasped for air. Deputy Kent had just saved the man’s life. “That’s when fire rescue walked in and saw everything, so I just thought, ‘Let me try to keep the kid calm so this isn’t very tragic for him’,” he said.
The child had just caused a life-saving coincidence. Deputy Kent says, “The phone number, we looked later on, you could see that he tried typing the password and it had 30 attempts that was the wrong password. It was probably accidental that he hit the button.” But Kent says he wants to prevent anymore coincidences because the result may not be the same next time.
The quick-thinking deputy took the interview opportunity to suggest, “My biggest thing is teaching your kids what to do in times like this, saying ‘Hey if something happens, go to a neighbor, get my phone, call somebody, try to have some kind of setup just like a fire drill.”
Deputies on scene contacted the child’s family who arrived to pick him up. The man was transported to an area hospital for further treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery.