Seven courageous children were celebrated at City Hall Monday for their quick thinking and bravery during emergency situations.

Zakaria Kouki, Aden Ibrahim, Alyssia Ieradi, Abigail Korenko, Rachelle Lafontant, Bionca Ronchi and Justin Upson were recognized at the 15th annual 9-1-1 Children's Achievement Awards at City Hall. The award is given to kids aged 12 and under who acted beyond their years by staying calm under pressure and calling 9-1-1 during an emergency.

"It's a chance to say thank you to young, brave men and women for taking action in a decisive and thoughtful fashion, " Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said. "You are heroes in the eyes of all of us at City Hall, but certainly throughout the City of Ottawa."

But the kids don't see themselves as heroes. 13-year-old birthday boy Zakaria Kouki called 9-1-1 when he found his mother passed out on the floor. He said calling 9-1-1 wasn’t courageous; it was right.

"I don't think I'm a hero. Not at all," he said. "I think most kids would realize at that kind of moment. They would call 9-1-1 to help their family or friend or a neighbour."

Though they might not see themselves as heroes, the kids do hope they can be role models for others.

Bionca Ronchi called 9-1-1 during a medical emergency and is credited with saving her mom's life. 

"I'm really happy," she said about receiving the certificate. "I'm really glad that I saved my mom's life, but I'm really happy that I can be a role model for a lot of people in Orléans.

The certificate of bravery was presented to the children by their local councillor. The Deputy Chief of Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Police Service and the Ottawa Paramedics Services were also on hand, as were a number of first responders who took the calls.

Michelle McArthur was on dispatch for Ottawa Fire when Alyssia Ieradi called to report a fire in her building. The two met for the first time after Monday's ceremony.

"There was a fire in my house when I was getting ready for school, so I immediately went to my friend's house to call 9-1-1," she said. 

McArthur, who was on the other end of that call, said Ieradi was calm, cool and collected the entre time. 

"We take 9-1-1 calls all the time. It's just so nice to see somebody's face when you connected for whatever minutes on the phone," McArthur said. 

The City of Ottawa receives more than 800 9-1-1 calls every day.

When should you call 9-1-1? When there is a: 

  • Life-threatening emergency or medical situation
  • Crime in progress
  • Fire
  • Serious accident
  • Exposure to, inhalation or swallowing of a poisonous substance