WAYLAND, Mass. — A mother in Wayland, Michigan, sent out a request for help to what she thought was her local fire department's Facebook page, only to have sent the message to a department in Massachusetts.
William Tyree, of the Wayland, Mass. Fire Department, says the woman was in panic after her teenage son began choking. She resorted to sending a message to fire officials because she did not have access to a phone at the time.
"A woman was having difficulty., her son was choking., she wasn't able to do the Heimlich - and she didn't have a phone," said Tyree.
Officials say messaging local agencies in an emergency is not recommended as these pages are not monitored 24/7.
However, luckily for this woman, Patrick Walkinshaw,a firefighter and paramedic, just so happened to see the post and was able to help out.
Say I was on a call, or didn't happen to have my phone with me, I wouldn't have known," said Walkinshaw.
After seeing the post, the situation for Walkinshaw and two other firefighters became a lot more complicated than they anticipated.
"I heard the address and none of us recognized it as a Wayland, Massachusetts address," said Dean Casali, a Wayland firefighter.
Casali couldn't locate the address because the incident was occurring in Michigan. In her haste to get help, the mother had contacted the wrong Wayland Fire Department.
"You're in a position where you can only do so much, given what we do," said Walkinshaw.
The firemen tell Boston 25 News they acted quickly and soon found the address online. They then contacted the Wayland, Michigan Fire Department and were able to send the caller the help she needed.
"Within probably two minutes we had their dispatch on the line, sending an ambulance to her," said Tyree.
Thanks to the efforts of two Wayland fire departments, eight hundred miles apart, the teenage boy survived.
Despite the happy ending, fire officials say you should never message them in an emergency, always call 911.
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