Local News

March 26, 2010

First-grader calls 911, saves Nana’s life

DALTON — Brandon Lanham was watching television when he heard a loud “thump” in the bathroom where his grandmother had just gone in.

“I heard her,” said the first-grader from Dawnville Elementary School. “I heard her fall. It made me jump.”

Brandon found Janice Lanham, whom he calls “Nana,” unconscious on the floor and proceeded to check her pulse and see if she was breathing. When he couldn’t find a pulse, he dialed 911. It was about 6:30 p.m. on March 16.

“He was very calm and told us what happened,” said Ladon West, a lieutenant from the Whitfield County Fire Department and one of the first on the scene. By that time, Janice Lanham had had a heart attack, hit her head, awakened and vomited.

After a few days in the hospital and a decision to quit smoking, it looks like she’ll be all right, family members say. The Lanhams say they hope Brandon’s actions will encourage other children to take action when they need to.

West and six other firefighters drove one of their ladder trucks to the school on Thursday and presented Brandon with a certificate for “heroic acts.” He also got to climb inside the truck, try on firefighter apparel and become the center of attention during a short ceremony in his honor in front of the entire school.

Janice Lanham she and her husband, Lynn, have raised Brandon and are his legal guardians. They have 18 other grandchildren, but he’s the only one who lives with them.

“I am proud of him,” she said. “He’s my little hero.”

Lynn Lanham was 15 minutes away from home when he called the house to see if they needed anything from the store. Brandon answered the phone and told him 911 responders had arrived because of his Nana.

“I was really proud of the way he responded to everything and didn’t get upset and crying,” Lynn Lanham said.

Without his actions, Janice Lanham could have died, he said. Lynn Lanham was a firefighter in Chatsworth for several years, and he said he and Janice, his wife of nearly 29 years, have talked to Brandon on several occasions about reasons to call 911 and how to do it.

Robin Gordon, Brandon’s teacher from kindergarten, said there are several school programs that teach how to dial 911 as well. Yet Brandon, who wants to be a wrestler when he grows up, said he remembered the lesson best from the television show “iCarly.”

“I watch it all the time,” he said.


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