Baker saves life, gets award

Published 10:19 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories on police personnel who recently received department-wide awards.

KaSandra Baker knows that she needs to be ready for anything when she comes to work at the Suffolk emergency communications center, even after less than a year working there.

But she still “freaked out after it was over” when it came time for her to save a life.

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Baker was honored in February with the Suffolk Police Department’s 2011 Lifesaving Award for a call she took on Oct. 9.

Baker

The male caller said his girlfriend was blue and not breathing and admitted she had overdosed on drugs, Baker said. He had just come out of the bathroom and did not know how long she had been unconscious.

Baker began to talk him through cardiopulmonary resuscitation, telling him “you are her heartbeat.”

But the panicked young man was not thinking straight.

“He kept hanging up on me, so I just kept calling back,” Baker said. “I could understand he was distraught because it was his girlfriend.”

Baker continued to walk the man through the steps of CPR until rescue crews arrived. He didn’t hang up the phone again, so Baker was able to hear the paramedics working on the victim — and, at long last, heard them say she was alert and talking.

“That’s a rare outcome for CPR,” Baker said.

Baker also works in the emergency room at Sentara Obici Hospital and formerly volunteered for the Nansemond-Suffolk Volunteer Rescue Squad. She came to work in the call center in May 2011 because she wanted to see the front end of the process, she said.

“I was intrigued by it,” she said. “I’m a cause and effect kind of thinker. I want to know what happened and why. I’m also an adrenaline junkie.”

Baker said she is glad she had the medical background to help her talk someone else through CPR.

“You never know what you’re going to get when you walk in here from day to day,” she said.

“I feel that Call Taker Baker is worthy of this award because she proved she was a vital link to the life of the patient,” Communications Operator Brandee Davenport said.

Baker is a Suffolk native and married to Klamente Baker for 12 years. They have three children, Jalen, Lauryn and Sydney.