7-year-old hero is honored for aiding badly injured dad

Brad Dugan, 7, smiled shyly yesterday as 80 second-graders assembled at Lisbon Elementary School to see him honored as a hero.

"This isn't a fairy tale I'm telling you, this is a true story," Battalion Chief Donald R. Howell of the county fire and rescue services told the youngsters.


On Labor Day, Brad's father accidentally cut his hand, severing three fingers, while using a power saw at the family's home in Lisbon. With his wife, Tammy, gone on an errand, Matthew Dugan called to Brad for help.

Brad, who was nearby with his 4-year-old brother, remained calm, dialed 911 and stopped the bleeding. Doctors at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore were able to save two of Mr. Dugan's fingers.


Before Brad's classmates yesterday, the county Fire and Rescue Services Department gave him a plaque praising his quick thinking, calmness and maturity.

Brad smiled, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders during all the attention.

Mr. Dugan, 36, an electrical engineer for Bechtel in Gaithersburg, said he went into shock after the accident.

But Brad was "amazingly calm. He was in control, very composed and able to do all the things he had to do," the proud father said.

"Brad went upstairs and dialed 911 and explained what happened."

The dispatcher, who asked Brad for his address and details of the accident, kept Brad on the telephone for about 10 minutes, giving him medical instructions until paramedics from the Lisbon Volunteer Company arrived.

"He told me to raise my arm, and to sit down and relax," Mr. Dugan recalled. Then Brad got toilet paper to help stop the bleeding.

Dispatcher Debbie Saunders, who talked to Brad during the emergency, presented him with a teddy bear yesterday.


"I want to give you this for doing such a good job," she said.

An audio tape of the 911 call was played, demonstrating how calmly and clearly Brad spoke. He told the dispatcher that he learned how to dial 911 while in school.