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10-year-old saves grandmother’s life

ALPINE MEADOWS – Bee stings weren’t new to Jan Barrett.

The 52-year old Alpine Meadows resident thought little of it when she was stung Monday, Aug. 24, while watching after four grandchildren.

“I’d been stung before and never before did I have a reaction,” Barrett said.



Quickly, she found, something wasn’t right. Her lips began to swell. For a moment, she thought about asking some friends who had just left the home for help.

“I thought I’d be fine, though, so I didn’t bother them,” said Barrett.



Moments later, she collapsed on the floor of her living room, lips blue, gasping for breath.

As she fell into anaphylactic shock, her heart rate slowed and she couldn’t respond to her grandchildren, who became anxious.

Her granddaughter Jaylyn Rose, just 10 years old, called 911, and within minutes paramedics were en route.

Webster’s dictionary defines a hero as a “Man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.”

One look at Jaylyn Rose tells you she doesn’t fit the book’s definition of a hero. After all, Rose is a she.

What Mr. Webster doesn’t know is Rose is most definitely a hero in the eyes of her family and rescuers, regardless of definition.

It was she who first called her mother Lisa after grandma Barrett fell to the floor.

“My mom didn’t think much of it at first. She thought it was just a bee sting,” Rose said. “When I said grandma isn’t breathing, she told me to call 911.”

She did just that. When the 911 tape starts, you can hear Jaylyn clearly explain her grandmother’s situation and provide the Deer Park Drive address to Grass Valley-based Cal Fire dispatcher Nancy Picker, who assures Jaylyn that rescuers and firefighters from Squaw Valley are on their way. Jaylyn also had the presence of mind to lead the family’s large dog onto the porch so it couldn’t impede rescuers.

Picker said in her years of emergency dispatch she “has never been so moved to have audibly witnessed the calm reserve of this very notable child.”

“I had to keep telling myself throughout the call that this was a child,” Picker said. “Her demeanor was that of an adult.”

As Picker extracts information bit-by-bit from Rose, the gravity of the situation is apparent.

“Jaylyn, who’s there at the house with you, is there an adult?” Picker asks.

Rose replies no, she is home only with 8-year old brother Woody and two babies.

“What is the baby doing?” Picker asks after a brief pause.

Rose replies the babies – as in plural, her twin 3-month old brothers – are sleeping.

“Good,” Picker says, portraying relief in what is otherwise a very calm conversation.

She asks Rose to check on Barrett: Is she breathing? How does she look?

Then Picker makes a decision. Barrett needs rescue breathing to keep the blood flowing through her body. She’s about to walk a 10-year old through some very basic CPR.

Meanwhile, Jaylyn has the presence of mind to switch the cell phone she’s calling on to speakerphone, and Woody is sent to the driveway to flag down the paramedics.

Picker instructs Rose on how to deliver two rescue breathes.

“I thought it was sort of weird,” Rose said. “Especially when she told me to pinch her nose.”

But Rose delivered the breaths and reports back to Picker they went in and rose her grandmother’s chest.

“All right, good, you’re doing a great job.”

Picker then walks Rose through two sets of 30 chest compressions.

“I was out of it, but I could I hear what was happening and I could feel her little hands,” said Barrett, between tissues after listening to the tape. “I could feel the blood going through my body. I could feel every little bit.”

Twice Rose goes through the compression-breath cycle before Woody spots the paramedics.

“I waved like this,” Woody demonstrates, arms crossing and flailing overhead.

Squaw Valley Firefighter/Paramedic Travis Smith was the first through the door.

“Jaylyn absolutely took the necessary steps to help her grandmother, no question,” Smith said. “You could definitely tell she’d been working on her.”

Firefighters, police and paramedics loaded Barrett into an ambulance and whisked her away to the Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, where she made a full recovery and left for home in the same night.

Listening to the nearly 10-minute 911 call brings Barrett to tears.

“I had no idea it was so involved,” Barrett said. “I didn’t know it was so long, and Jaylyn was so calm, cool and collected. She did the right thing. She saved my life.”

Rose seems to grasp the importance of what she did, but the moment itself doesn’t seem to phase or impress her too much.

“It doesn’t seem like much, but it is,” Rose said. “It didn’t seem as long as it was on the tape.”

Smith credits both Picker and Rose with saving Barrett, and credits the veteran dispatcher for her calm in the situation.

Asked about her thoughts on the “hero” designation, Rose replies in the same calm manner you hear in the 911 call.

“I guess that’d be pretty good.”

Join North Tahoe Middle School as it honors Jaylyn Rose at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, at an assembly in the school’s gym. Local fire and rescue personnel from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District will be on hand to recognize Rose for her outstanding assistance to her grandmother.

Picker will also attend the ceremony, and said meeting Rose marks the first time in her 34-year career as a dispatcher that she will ever meet a caller.


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