When Jamie Szanto heard his mum scream for help after a microwave explosion in the kitchen of their family home, he didn’t cry or panic.
He calmly told her to get in the shower and stay there while he notified his older siblings and called triple zero for help.
“My 10 year old son was pretty amazing,” an emotional Bree Szanto remarked, still recovering from her injuries.
“The hospital said that if I didn’t get in the shower when I did that it could have been a lot worse.”
Augusta Park student Jamie suffers with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Asperger Syndrome, so his actions under pressure were surprising to all who know him.
“It is a big surprise because he’s usually pretty shut off to the world. He’s completely spun me,” Ms Szanto said.
“We shared a few tears at the hospital. He said ‘I thought you were dying mum’, and he didn’t want anyone to touch me – he was very protective.”
A few days later, Jamie was honoured with a certificate of appreciation from the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service for his brave and courageous actions.
Outside of his Forester Street home, emergency service officers from SAPOL, SA Ambulance Service and the MFS gathered to praise his quick decision making.
“He is a shining example and he’s our poster boy at the moment for what to do in a home emergency situation as a young person,” Far North and Eyre MFS Commander Noel Dodd said – describing Jamie as “amazing”.
“If there was a fire safety message to send out its definitely to talk to your children, make sure they are aware of what the emergency number is, show them how to use it and practice evacuation plans.”
“It’s fantastic that he’s been able to retain that information – whether he learnt it through school or discussed it with his family previously,” Constable Lauren Wait added.
“For a 10 year-old-boy to be able to recite first aid requirement for a burn, to put his mum under running water and then to ring triple zero is just extremely pleasing.”
Jamie isn’t sure where he picked up the information, but he thinks it may have simply come from watching movies with mum.
“I’m pretty proud,” Jamie said sheepishly when asked about all the extra attention.
“I went into the kitchen, I ran there as fast as I could and I saw mum on the floor. I told her to go to the shower and she told me to ring someone.
“I felt happy when I saw that she was okay.”
Jamie’s brush with heroism may even inspire him into adulthood, after sitting in the fire engine he was pretty quick to proclaim fire fighter as his dream occupation for the future.