updated 07/13/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/14/2014 AT 7:45 AM ET
It was the call of a lifetime.
“I have a 1-year-old infant – swallowed something and he’s starting to choke on it,” the caller told 911 dispatcher trainee Adam Brooks on May 27, according to Sacramento CBS station KOVR.
As Brooks wrote down the address, 911 dispatcher Britney Melchor, who was training him, noticed it sounded familiar.
“He verified the address and I heard that it was mine,” Melchor, 23, of Marysville, California, tells PEOPLE.
Somehow, she kept her cool and quickly dispatched the fire department and ambulance to her home.
“My first reaction was getting help to him right away,” Melchor told the TV station. “Just like any other 911 phone call I ve ever had, my first instinct is to do my job and help save that life.”
It turns out Melchor and fiancé Robert Kimball’s 14-month-old son, Maverick, had swallowed a metal washer that fell off a piece of furniture.
“He went completely limp, wasn’t breathing, Kimball, 25, told the TV station.
“At that point I made the decision to take my middle finger and shove the object past his airway,” says Robert, who says he has past medical training that helped him clear Maverick’s airway so he could breathe.
Rescue crews arrived around the same time and took him to Rideout Memorial Hospital, where they gave the family a copy of the X-ray showing the washer lodged in Maverick’s stomach.
Earlier this month, Melchor was surprised when the Marysville Police Department unanimously awarded her the Meritorious Conduct Award and pin.
“It was definitely unexpected,” Melchor tells PEOPLE.
But Aaron Easton, the deputy chief of the Marysville Police Department, tells PEOPLE she deserved it.
“[She got the award] for her calm and composure and professionalism.”
As for Maverick, he’s doing just fine – and passed the washer two weeks later.