FAIRBANKS - A toddler knew to call 911 when his mother collapsed and lost consciousness, thanks to a children's book his grandmother had sent several months earlier.
Sound off on the important issues at
Tony Sharpe was home in North Pole with his mother, Courtenay, on April 10, when she blacked out during a gall bladder attack. The 4-year-old went to the phone and reached the North Star Volunteer Fire Department by dialing the emergency number.
He told a dispatcher: "Mommy is sick. Mommy needs an ambulance. Mommy fell over. She is sleeping," according to a recording of the call.
"Can you call the ambulance?" he continued. "When Daddy gets here, Daddy will see if there's something wrong with mommy."
The boy then described the family's apartment building, which is white with a blue roof.
Courtenay Sharpe was conscious and barely able to speak when firefighters arrived.
Her son had practiced dialing 911 countless times in one of his favorite books, "It's Time to Call 911: What to do in an Emergency." The interactive book rewards its reader with a blast of emergency sirens and a cheery "good job" when 911 is punched into the key pad.
"You know kids," Courtenay Sharpe said, "once they latch onto a book, they want the same story read to them over and over again. After awhile, he pretty much knew the book by heart."
The boy will be honored in May by the volunteer fire department with a T-shirt, a plaque and a ride on a fire engine.
His parents rewarded him with a much-wanted puppy, Bear, an 8-month-old golden retriever and Labrador mix adopted from an animal shelter.