On April 22, 2016 at 2:36 p.m., the Rhode Island E-911 Uniform Emergency Telephone System Center received a call from 6-year-old Michael Finch, whose mother had suffered a medical emergency and was lying on the floor of her Tiverton home. E-911 Telecommunicator Robert Hillier received the call and began to verify the information from Michael. Michael was able to provide a telephone number and validate his address. Telecommunicator Hillier remained on the line and transferred the call to the Tiverton Fire Department, where Dispatcher Brittany Pierce began speaking with Michael.
Dispatcher Pierce kept Michael calm and was able to elicit pertinent medical information regarding the condition of his mother, Rebecca Cottle, who was coherent, but in serious distress on the floor and unable to speak. Dispatcher Pierce asked Michael his name, and he said, “My name is Michael, and I am named after the Archangel.” Michael also had the presence of mind to let the Dispatcher know that he had a dog at his residence that barked at everyone in an effort to ensure that the firefighters were safe when they approached his house. Michael opened the door to allow firefighters access. The firefighters asked Michael to put the dog in a secure room. Michael immediately did so without hesitation and pointed to his mom on the floor and said, “She’s right here.”
Tiverton firefighters located Ms. Cottle semi-conscious on the floor experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing. Michael also directed the firefighters to his mother’s medication, which was in the refrigerator, and retrieved it for them. This provided essential medical information for the proper care of his mother. As his mom was being transported from the home to the rescue, Michael held the door open for the firefighters. One of the firefighters spoke with Michael and thanked him for how much he helped his mom and the Tiverton firefighters. Michael simply said, “I did what my mom taught me to do.” Ms. Cottle was transported to the hospital and recovered fully from the incident.
The Rhode Island State Police awarded 6-Year-Old Michael Finch with the Lifesaver Award and named him an Honorary Trooper by Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell on May 12, 2016. He was also presented with a citation from Governor Gina Raimondo. Letters of appreciation were presented to Rhode Island E-911 Telecommunicator Robert Hillier and Tiverton Fire Department Dispatcher Brittany Pierce from Colonel O'Donnell.