Emergency officials: Mississippi girl, 9, helped save 20-year-old brother’s life

Published 6:35 am Saturday, December 18, 2021

Emergency officials honored a Saltillo Elementary School fourth grader on Dec. 10 for helping save her brother’s life.

Lee County 911, the Saltillo Fire Department, the Saltillo Police Department and Saltillo Elementary School all took time to honor the actions of Addison Burleson, 9, in Ginnie Waite’s classroom at Saltillo Elementary School. The first responders also presented Burleson with an E-911 plaque to recognize her poise under pressure.

“The school is extremely proud of all of our students, but Addison was on top of things that day,” said assistant principal Michael Coggins.

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Burleson was home alone in late November when she noticed something was wrong with her 20-year-old brother. He is prone to having seizures and she recognized the sounds he makes when suffering one.

The young girl’s mother, Kelley Burleson, is a paramedic and has the family trained in a series of protocols to deal with everything from medical issues to fire to intruders. So, it was second nature for Addison to walk into her brother’s room, hit the emergency button on his cell phone and call 911.

“We take calls from kids all the time,” said Lee County 911 assistant director Jason Nichols, who was manning the phones that afternoon. “She stayed calm throughout the entire call. She set a great example on how children should be taught to be prepared to call 911.”

Addison was able to give the 911 dispatcher her home’s physical address and her phone number in case they got cut off. She told them her brother was barely breathing and that he has had seizures since he was 14.

When Burleson told the dispatcher her brother was bleeding from his mouth, he instructed her to turn the patient on his side.
“She put the phone on speaker so the dispatcher could still hear her,” said Lee County 911 Quality Assurance director Tanya Mayo. “It was then that she said she was only 9 and couldn’t roll her brother over.”

Addison at first told the dispatcher that paramedics should come to the back door because nobody uses the front door. After thinking about it, she told then to go to the front door because that would be closer to the brother’s room.

“If you were a little older, I would offer you a job,” Nichols told her jokingly.

Kelley Burleson wasn’t surprised at how her little girl handled the situation.

“She is pretty strong in character,” she said, adding that the family has protocols for various emergencies they may face.

“For seizures, her job is to go get the oxygen tank while I roll him on his side,” Kelley Burleson said. “We are very proud of her.”