Roanoke County dispatcher helped save a woman's life during Tropical Storm Michael

Sienna Hebert earned Red Cross 911 Dispatch Hero Award

By Lindsey Ward - Anchor

ROANOKE, Va. - Tropical Storm Michael dumped inches of rain on the Roanoke Valley all evening and into the night on October 11, 2018.

Area swift water teams rescued people out of their homes and from their cars, but for Roanoke County, one 911 call stands out more than others. 

"One of my co-workers actually got the initial call and we found out, you know, she's on top of her car and she's … her vehicle is stuck in the water," Sienna Hebert said.      

"When it got up to my tires I tried to reverse and get it out," said the caller. "I was just trying to get home and everything got flooded."

The call was transferred from one dispatcher to another, landing in the lap of Hebert. 

"My job was to make sure she could get herself in a safe enough position until the rest of my team could get, you know, our guys out in the field out there," Hebert said.

After getting all the essential information, Hebert started distracting the frightened young woman with conversation.

"Sienna did a really great job with handling it. And at that time, she was barely just over a year of being with the county. So, with just that little time under her belt, she did, in my opinion, did a fantastic job with it," said Roy Davis, communications team supervisor. "Distracting her with various conversations about star constellations, about movies, whatever it was. It's just to distract her from the situation at hand, which was pretty serious." 

"It definitely helped because she stayed calm. And then she helped us get to her faster by being calm," Hebert said. 

While Hebert's quick thinking earned her the Red Cross 911 Dispatch Hero Award, Sienna says she's thankful the woman survived. 

"That's kind of the recognition ... I played a small part in making sure somebody got home and that is … it's elating … it's definitely, like, I can sleep well at night and, you know, I can wake up the next morning ready to do it again because I'm ... somehow I'm helping somebody and somehow we are all helping somebody and it's definitely a feeling that's indescribable," Hebert said. 

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