Firefighters dove under water, grabbed the wrist of the victim, pulled the arm on deck, jumped out of the pool and pulled a lifeless body out of the water. Luckily this time, the lifeless body was a training mannequin.

Last month, Northwest Fire/Rescue District firefighters gathered at the pool at the YMCA for water rescue training in the event a victim is found at the bottom of the pool or a victim dives into shallow water and hurts his or her neck.

Sean Culliney, who is the EMS training coordinator for the district, was out at the pool with the groups of firefighters.

Culliney said a few paramedics said they wanted to brush up on their drowning training. He put together the physical training and they put together a three-hour lecture. The lecture covered how they can do community outreach in teaching adults and kids alike about water safety, in the hopes they wont have to respond to a drowning.

The physical training included rescuing an active victim along with a passive victim. They also practiced putting someone on a backboard while still in the pool.

The firefighters then had a unique opportunity to work with iStan, an interactive human patient-simulation mannequin that emulates human-like characteristics in an emergency situation.

“We’ve never done this before,” Culliney said. “So we wanted to try to teach good techniques for it.

“We are giving 100 percent of out people basic lifeguard training for deep and shallow water rescue.”

On hand during the training was Josh Zent, who in an engineer with the district and a former lifeguard and Marnie Green who is a lifeguard at the YMCA.

Pool safety measurements

•  Have a perimeter pool fence at least 5 feet high, with self-closing and self-latching gates and vertical spacing of no more than 4 inches, constructed so that it cannot be climbed.

•  Keep gates closed and locked when the pool is not in use.

•  Fences, latches and door locks leading to the pool should be at least 4 1/2 feet above the ground.

•  Keep the area around the pool picked up and free of toys and other objects that might attract children.

•  Keep life-saving devices near the pool.

•  Make sure family members and caregivers, including grandparents, know CPR, water safety rules, and how to get help

•  Designate one person to watch children (inside or outside) when at places with pools.

•  If you must leave to answer the phone or attend to a task, remove young children from the pool area and make sure that they cannot return without your knowing it.

Source: Northwest Fire District

The call firefighters hate most

Parents can never be too careful in regard to water safety

By Wendy Miller, The Explorer

In January, an Oro Valley couple went about their daily business confident their 3-year-old son was safe and secure in their home. They couldn’t have realized their child had somehow made his way outside, into a neighbor’s yard, and fallen into the neighbor’s pool.

After receiving the parents’ frantic 9-1-1 call to report their child missing, Oro Valley Police officers found the 3-year-old in the water. They immediately began CPR, and were joined less than two minutes later by paramedics from the Golder Ranch Fire District, who happened to be nearby while returning from another call.

“We were handed a limp, cold, small boy,” said Colin Ryan, a firefighter/paramedic for Golder Ranch. “We had a feeling that nothing we could do would change the outcome but we tried as hard as we could; there was no quit.”

The firefighters worked on the youngster throughout the ambulance ride to the hospital; emergency room personnel continued their life-saving efforts once the small child arrived. Sadly, the little boy could not be saved.

The event left a family devastated and firefighters dreading more calls like it.

“Child drownings are every medic’s worst nightmare,” said Ryan. “Even though you’re trained to do it, there is a big difference in the stress levels because small children generally do not have the ability to help themselves.

“If you see the look on the first responders’ faces, you’ll see it’s more devastating than people can imagine.”

See related story for drowning-prevention tips.


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