Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Employees save boy's life at Southland Leisure Centre

City employees at Southland Leisure Centre are being praised for saving the life of a young boy on Wednesday, April 20. The team of employees, including lifeguards, security guards, and support staff at the leisure centre, worked together and followed protocol to help the seven-year-old.
Trainees practice life saving skills
“In one way or another, everyone was involved,” says Marlene McKinnon, aquatics supervisor at Southland Leisure Centre. “It takes crowd control, getting Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel to the scene – it’s a real group operation. Everybody plays a part.”
The boy was playing with two friends in the dive tank when he didn’t come up from the bottom of the pool. Lifeguards worked together to pull the boy from the water and resuscitate him while other employees called 9-1-1 and waited outside of the leisure centre to direct EMS to the incident.
There’s no doubt this incident demonstrated the importance of the training City pool staff undergo, but Marlene is quick to note that this type of event is not unique. Earlier last month some of the same pool employees were put to the test when a 26-year-old man had a heart attack in the main pool and needed to be resuscitated.
“There’s no predicting it,” says Marlene. “You never know when it’s going to happen, so you have to be on your game every day.”
While lifeguards all have basic qualifications, Aquatics Supervisor at Foothills Aquatic Centre Ron Lowe says, “The City takes those qualifications and enhances them specific to our facilities.”
The City and EMS worked together to develop protocols to streamline the process for rescue and ensure the transfer from pool staff to EMS goes smoothly. While a large part of lifeguard training is consistent across all City aquatic centres, Ron says it’s also important to orientate pool employees to their surroundings.
“Each site is unique,” says Ron. “You have to customize the training to the workplace.”
At leisure centres like Southland and Village Square, this site-specific training is mandatory for all pool employees, including security guards and support staff. It’s this kind of training that enabled employees at Southland Leisure Centre to respond quickly on April 20.
“Part of the training is working as a team,” says Marlene. “The City of Calgary standard is very high."

Story by Heather Geddes. 

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