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New call handler saved girl in crisis with only minutes to spare

Date: 14 July 2023

Despite being just a few weeks into the job at Norwich Emergency Operations Centre, and still under mentoring, emergency call handler Carla Brightman talked a desperate young girl down from a bridge where she was having a mental health crisis.
The situation was made even more difficult when the caller said she had just 4% battery left on her phone, giving Carla just minutes to talk to her before they would be disconnected.

Carla Brightman receives her CEO Commendation from EEAST Chief Executive Tom Abell.

However, Carla stayed calm during the challenging call and helped to reassure the teenager, de-escalating the situation and persuading her to step away from the ledge and sit and wait for help to arrive.
Carla, who is now fully-qualified as a call-handler, had not long completed her training and had been taking live calls under mentorship for just a couple of weeks when she took the call.

She said: “I asked the girl why she was on that bridge and she told me. I gave her my name and she told me hers. She told me that she had already self-harmed and was bleeding and I listened to her and explained there was always someone she could talk to. I made her promise to stay safe until help arrived, which was pretty immediately.
“I had to take a few minutes away from my desk after taking the call as I have a daughter the same age as the girl on the phone, and it struck close to home.
“I am very thankful the call ended the way that it did. It’s why I went into the job, to make a difference, and it’s great that I can make that difference to someone just by listening to them.”
Carla has been given the Chief Officer Commendation for her actions - just one of 131 people who received an award as part of the Trust’s annual ceremony on Wednesday, July 5.
The ceremony honours courage and swift action in medical emergencies by blue-light colleagues and members of the public. It also recognises outstanding commitment, long service and dedication by members of EEAST staff.

Tom Abell, Chief Executive of EEAST said: “I have no doubt that Carla helped save this young person’s life and it goes to show the variety of ways that you can help people and make a difference as part of the ambulance service.”
If you want a job that gives you the opportunity to make a difference, start your #CareerForLife with EEAST today.
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  • Summary:


     Despite being just a few weeks into the job, Carla Brightman talked a desperate young girl down from a bridge.