Massachusetts fire department offers cross-country help


WAYLAND, Mich. (WOOD) – A woman from Wayland, Michigan, inadvertently contacted firefighters from Wayland, Massachusetts, on Facebook to get help for her son, who was choking on a piece of chicken.

The incident happened late Saturday evening at the Rabbit River Estates mobile home park in Wayland Township. While enjoying homemade barbecue chicken, 16-year-old Andrew Rock began to choke.

“Like trying to gasp for air but I couldn’t get no air in,” Andrew Rock described.

His mother Michelle Rock had lost her phone and decided to turn to Facebook to try to contact emergency responders. After searching for “Wayland Fire Department,” she inadvertently came to the page for the Wayland, Massachusetts, Fire Department.

Firefighters in Massachusetts jumped into action. They contacted the department in Wayland, Michigan, and firefighters there quickly dispatched the appropriate emergency crews.

“I’m thankful for what they did,” Andrew Rock said of both Wayland fire departments.

“Thank God they were there,” Michelle Rock told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “They were like my guardian angels.”

Wayland, Michigan’s fire department does have a Facebook page, but it may have been a stroke of luck that Michelle Rock found the wrong one. Firefighters in Wayland, Michigan, were out on a house fire call at the time of the choking incident. Had she used the correct Facebook page, her message would have gone unnoticed for some time.

“Blessing in disguise,” Michelle Rock said.

Local Fire Chief Joe Miller said what happened is confirmation of a mantra he lives by.

“Working together, sharing resources, we can accomplish great things through coordination, cooperation, and communication,” Miller said. “This is proof positive. … If you call Wayland, Massachusetts, eventually it would get here.”

Andrew Rock was fine once he was able to get the chicken dislodged from his throat.

Emergency responders strongly advise against using social media to contact authorities during an emergency. Most public safety departments do not monitor social media around the clock.

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