Volusia County 911 dispatcher helps family save child from drowning over the phone

‘I’m going to tell you what to do okay?,’ Eggers told the family

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County 911 dispatcher shared his side of the story Wednesday with News 6 after the sheriff’s office said he helped save a 2-year-old’s life. Deputies said the child was found unresponsive in the family’s pool in DeLeon Springs on Sunday.

“When you pick up that phone, you never know what is going to be on the other end. It’s always something different,” said dispatcher Tom Eggers.

Eggers answered the family’s frantic call for help that afternoon.

“Stay on the line with me, stay on the line, get the baby out of the water,” Eggers can be heard saying on the phone.

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The family called for help after finding the child face down in the pool unresponsive and not breathing.

“I’m going to tell you what to do okay?,” Eggers told the family.

The dispatcher, who serves as a shift supervisor, too, said he had to try to calm the family down first.

“Calming the caller down so they can really listen to what we’re trying to tell them, because obviously we’re not there so we kind of need them to be our eyes on the scene,” he said.

Without seeing anything but knowing the emergency couldn’t wait for first responders to get there, Eggers started teaching the family CPR over the phone.

“I want you to take one hand, place it on the center of her chest between the nipples and press down to a depth of about one inch. We’re going to do 30 compressions,” he instructed the family on the call.

Deputy body camera then showed them getting on scene after minutes of CPR and reaching the child who then starts breathing. The child was then taken to the hospital in a serious condition.

“I have a grandson, and a lot of our dispatchers also all have young children, so those calls involving young children are difficult to process sometimes,” said Eggers.

Eggers said he turns to other dispatchers to process calls like these right after they happen. In this case, though difficult, he said he sees the best part of his job.

“Unfortunately, it’s not always a good outcome so when we do get one where we’re able to save somebody, it just feels amazing. It’s very fulfilling,” he said.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.