Public Information Officer
Not many people have a job that involves saving a life. But that’s exactly what Rebecca Scaramellino did on Jan. 22 at her job as a telecommunicator for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Scaramellino is a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Office’s Fire/EMS Communications Center and is specially trained along with the other dispatchers at the center to provide callers with life-saving information in a medical emergency. And she put that training along with her calm, poise and professionalism to good use during a recent medical emergency call involving a 3-year-old boy who had fallen into a family swimming pool in Ormond Beach. The toddler was blue, cold to the touch and lifeless when he was pulled out of the pool. A frantic family member called 911 and was quickly transferred to Scaramellino.
The boy wasn’t breathing, and no one at the home knew how to perform CPR, the caller told Scaramellino. With calm, cool professionalism, Scaramellino tenderly talked the caller through every step of the life-saving procedure. Put the child on its back, pinch his nose, lift his chin, tilt his head, put your mouth over the infant’s mouth and exhale short, gentle breaths -- all the while making sure the toddler’s chest was rising and falling with each breath. In between instructions, Scaramellino would calm the caller and reassure her that additional help was on its way. Meanwhile, the caller would relay each new instruction from Scaramellino to another family member who was tending to the toddler. Within moments, the little boy was revived, coughing up water and breathing on his own. His cries could be clearly heard through the telephone line, and for Scaramellino, those cries were the signs of a job well done -- the signs of a life saved. “If he’s crying then that’s a good thing,” Scaramellino told the caller. “That means he’s getting air. That’s fine. Let him cry.”
Saving a life is a reward all its own. But on Tuesday, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson added a reward of a different kind, presenting Scaramellino with a Medal of Merit for her actions. “What a great thing. What a great job,” said Sheriff Johnson as he presented the medal to Scaramellino. “I’m very proud of you.” Along with the medal, Scaramellino also was presented with an accompanying citation, which read in part: “TC Scaramellino acted with speed, knowledge and calm professionalism under extremely difficult conditions and in so doing, prevented the loss of a young life. Her actions reflect great credit upon herself and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.”
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, DIAL 911 IF YOU CAN’T CALL, YOU CAN SEND A TEXT TO 911