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Kari’s Lil’ Hero

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What makes a hero? What drives that special person to do that special thing, at that special time? Whatever it is, it can be found in anybody, including a nine-year-old girl.

On December 1, 2013 several people’s lives changed forever. A step-mother and father lost their daughter of 31 years, and three children lost their loving mother right in front of their eyes. I’ve blogged about this story several times, covering the technology shortcomings, the disparate legislative dilemma that exists in the US, and have communicated this story in person to Commissioner Ajit Pai, as well as an open letter to newly appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

While I’ve been in touch with Kari’s father, Hank Hunt, through Social Media and Facebook, on Saturday I had an opportunity to speak with him live to convey my thoughts from my meeting at the FCC on Friday. Hank, his wife and other family members are caring for the three grandchildren, whose names will remain private, so we will call the eldest of the siblings “Kari’s Lil’ Hero”.

As part of my presentation to the FCC, I wanted to take the opportunity to let Hank deliver a message to the commissioner and his staff. That message was:

The quote on Kari’s grave marker will be, “She loved with purpose”.
In kind, this mandate should be implemented with purpose.

In the words of Kari’s father, Hank Hunt:

“It’s hard to describe the things that go through my head when I think about that day. Did she suffer much? Did she fight back? Did she know she was going to die, and if she did, did she cry for me to help her?

Torturing questions I can’t get out of my head.

But, the most bothersome thought is what my grand daughter was hearing while she tried to dial 911. What was this 9 year old thinking, hearing, all while trying to get help and push her younger siblings to safety. We have repeatedly told her that she did right, that she is the “hero” of all this but while she smiles at that, her eyes go to the floor as if she’s wondering if what we are telling her is true.”

One of the things that I can’t get out of my head is the fact that for some reason “Kari’s Lil’ Hero” doubts her actions of that day. But after all, she’s nine years old. She doesn’t understand what a PBX is, and she has been told her entire life that in an emergency you dial 9-1-1. Despite the horror that was going on in front of her, she did just that. After all, she’s “Kari’s Lil’ Hero”.

When she tried to dial again, the call still didn’t go through, so she came up with Plan B. She huddled her two younger siblings together, and despite the horror that was happening in front of her she rushed them into the hallway to safety. After all, she’s “Kari’s Lil’ Hero”..

She tried to communicate with some housekeeping staff, but there was a language barrier, so it was time for plan C. After all, she’s “Kari’s Lil’ Hero”..

After knocking on the door of another room, she finally found help who was able to dial 911 and protect her and her younger siblings. After all, she’s “Kari’s Lil’ Hero”..

I can barely contain my emotion when I think about this little girl, and all that she did that fateful day. She did all the right things; it was the implementation of the technology that failed her. But her actions that day very well may have saved the lives of her two siblings, as well as her own. In addition to improving technology, and providing ubiquitous access to emergency services by dialing 911, another thing that we as an industry can fix is the self-esteem of a brave little nine-year-old.

After all, she’s “Kari’s Lil’ Hero”.

Let her know that by telling her so at: https://www.facebook.com/changeitforkari

The petition for Kari’s Law can be signed online at:
http://change.org/KarisLaw

A Give Forward Campaign supporting Kari’s children is at:
https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/ybl3/kari-hunt-s-children



Want more Technology, News and Information from Avaya? Be sure to check out the Avaya Podcast Network landing page at http://avaya.com/APN . There you will find additional Podcasts from Industry Events such as Avaya Evolutions and INTEROP, as well as other informative series by the APN Staff.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading the Avaya CONNECTED Blog on E9-1-1, I value your opinions, so please feel free to comment below or if you prefer, you can email me privately.

Public comments, suggestions, corrections and loose change is all graciously accepted ;-)
Until next week. . . dial carefully.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Fletch911

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Mark J. Fletcher, ENP is the Chief Architect for Worldwide Public Safety Solutions at Avaya. As a seasoned professional with nearly 30 years of service, he provides the strategic roadmap and direction of Next Generation Emergency Services in both the Enterprise and Government portfolios at Avaya. In 2014, Fletcher was made a member of the NENA Institute Board in the US, and co-chair of the EENA NG112 Committee in the EU, where he provides insight to State and Federal legislators globally driving forward both innovation and compliance. more