Ashlee Zinn deals with life and death situations on a daily basis.
The Granville native works as a communications officer for the Washington County Department of Public Safety and handles emergency calls during every shift.
So what was recently a routine part of her day was a crucial, life-saving moment for one resident’s daughter.
Zinn received a call from a hysterical woman whose baby was not breathing.
“The woman was frantic,” said Bill Cook, director of the department. So Zinn remained calm and walked the mother through the process of administering CPR to the infant, while trying to calm her down as well.
It’s no fluke the tragic situation turned into a happy ending; Zinn knows what she’s doing. She’s worked with the department for eight and a half years, and has much training with the Priority Dispatch program. Additionally, she has been involved with the Granville Rescue Squad for years and currently serves as the organization’s treasurer.
“This one resulted in a reversal—that’s a pretty big deal for us,” Cook said.
For her part, Zinn indicated she was simply doing her job.
“It’s tough, but you get used to stressful situations,” the Kingsbury resident said. However, she admitted situations involving children have become more difficult since she’s had one of her own.
“Kid calls hit me a lot harder now that I have a kid,” she said. “I stayed calm like I usually do, but it was a huge relief when I heard the baby crying.”
As a reward for her good work, Zinn recently received the first of the county department’s new 9-1-1 Lifesaver Award.
“I wasn’t expecting the award; it’s nice to be the first recipient,” she said, adding that first responders do a behind-the-scenes job and aren’t often acknowledged.
Cook said an official in the department came up with the idea as a way to show appreciation to employees.
“We’ll give out the reward anytime we gave lifesaving instructions that resulted in a positive outcome,” he said. He said Zinn, who is a trainer and instructor at the department, did what all officers are trained to do by remaining cool.
“She’s always done a good job for us; she’s very professional, always courteous,” he said. “She’s the first-time recipient of this award, and we hope to give out a lot more in the future.”
Zinn, who said it was an honor to become a trainer a year ago, seems to appreciate her job
“I started out part time but stayed because I do enjoy coming to work every day,” she said. The lifesaver-shaped pin and Lifesaver mints she received with her award are something that boosts morale, she said.
“Getting recognized just makes you feel better about what you do and helps you feel appreciated.”