When Bendigo’s Mia Thompson was watching PAW Patrol on Tuesday, she didn’t realise a real life rescue would soon play out in her lounge room.
The five-year-old found herself in a tricky situation when her head became stuck in the opening at the bottom of the cat scratcher post.
Not long after being found by mum, firefighters, paramedics and SES crews pulled up out the front of her house.
Bendigo Fire Station senior station officer Darren Eenjes said two firefighters and two ambulance officers worked with care to free Mia.
“We made sure we limited any extra trauma on Mia,” he said.
“It was the perfect calm and co-ordinated effort where the Ambulance Victoria team cared for and looked after Mia’s welfare while firefighters carefully deconstructed the box using small hand tools to free her head.”
The recuse took about 15 minutes and, thankfully, Mia only ended up with a little scratch and a sore forehead.
“The only time we were a little concerned was when someone asked where was the cat,” Mr Eenjes said. “We were relieved and happy when it was in the bedroom and not inside the box where Mia’s head was stuck.”
After the ordeal, Mia was given a CFA fire trauma teddy and her mum, Pete Thompson, said she hadn’t stopped holding it since.
“She was really upset and distressed when she was stuck but the firefighters and ambulance were talking her down and had her pretty calm and relaxed,” she said.
Mr Eenjes said firefighters talked to Mia afterwards about PAW Patrol and how she had ended up in a real life rescue.
“It made our day,” he said. “It was beautiful.”
The firefighter of 28 years said it was the first time he had seen a child stuck in a cat scratcher, but he had been to plenty of rescues where arms were stuck inside lolly machines or heads between bars.
“There are quite a number that involve fingers or arms where they shouldn’t be,” he said.
“Most times it takes just a small bit of manipulation or a lever to move something to make a bit of space and they come out quite easily.”
When asked how her head had ended up in the cat scratcher, Mia cheekily said, “I thought it would be fun”.
“I don’t think she will do it again anytime soon!” said mum, who praised the efforts of the emergency services on scene.
“We had two SES trucks, one CFA and one ambulance – that’s a lot for one little girl. They were lovely people, they really were.”
Mr Eenjes said people should call triple-0 if their child became stuck and they were worried.
“It was a great result and I know mum was taking plenty of photos to keep for her 21st birthday.”