Everyday people with the extraordinary ability to save lives were recognised by Life Saving Victoria (LSV) at the annual Victorian Pool Safety Summit, including staff from Aquanation, Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) and Yarra Leisure.
The incidents were varied: a taxi driver who headed to Aquanation when a passenger became unconscious and stopped breathing in the back seat, a 17-month-old baby who stopped breathing in the car on the way home from a basketball game, and a heart attack in a gymnasium, but all incidents benefitted from staff with first aid training who could act fast and save these lives.
“Our hope is to equip as many people as possible with the skills to save lives,” says LSV General Manager of Public Training and Pool Safety, Andy Dennis. “Each of these examples shows how incidents can happen out of the blue and in unusual places, so the need to have lifesaving skills is something we all need to work towards.”
The ‘Everyday Lifesaver’ award recognises people from aquatic industries, and from the community, who have used their lifesaving and water safety skills to perform a significant rescue and/or save somebody’s life.
The awards were initiated at the Drowning Report / Water Safety Week launch in 2013. The success of the awards has seen the Play it Safe by the Water committee create an ongoing program to recognise aquatic ‘Everyday Lifesavers’. Here are the incidents in more detail:
TAXI DRIVER’S UNEXPECTED STOPOVER
Aquanation staff members Chris Droge, Justin Heskett, Jaegar Pascoe, Dee Drury, Mikayla Lacey and Artur Cichocki had their lifesaving skills tested at 9.30am on 2nd June when a taxi driver pulled up to the facility with an unconscious passenger, who had started hyperventilating as the taxi circled the roundabout near to the centre.
Once alerted by customer service, the team grabbed the first aid kit, oxygen and defibrillator and ran outside to assess the patient, who was put into the recovery position and removed from the vehicle, so oxygen could be administered.
By this time, the patient had stopped breathing, so staff commenced CPR and contacted Triple Zero. Mikayla and Jaegar commenced 2-person CPR and Justin applied the defibrillator. After two rounds, the patient began breathing again, with the fire brigade and paramedics arriving soon after.
“Staff must be commended on their quick actions and the patient’s recovery is a testament to the staff members’ team work, quick thinking, and extensive training,” says Adam Sledge, Maroonhdah Leisure’s Operations Manager. “We are extremely proud of all staff members’ involvement, particularly given the unique and testing environment.”
It was later discovered that the patient suffered a brain aneurysm, and, thanks to the actions of Aquanation staff, will make a full recovery.
QUICK THINKING SAVES 17-MONTH-OLD
After watching a basketball game at MSAC on Saturday 6th August, a family were driving home when they realised their 17-month-old baby was no longer breathing. They quickly returned to MSAC to ask for help.
Swim School staff acted quickly, grabbing their first aid equipment as customer service staff called triple zero. CPR was performed by trained swim school staff, while pool lifeguards comforted the parents and the six children who were with the family.
After two cycles of CPR, the young child started to show signs of life. Once the child began breathing, oxygen therapy was provided and the young child was placed into the recovery position with the parents close by.
The ambulance arrived soon after and transported the child to the Royal Children’s Hospital. The child was kept overnight for observation and has no long-term injuries. It’s understood that the child suffered a virus in the days leading up to the families MSAC visit, which caused a seizure from overheating, eventually leading to him to stop breathing.
“Along with the child’s family, MSAC Management are tremendously proud of and thankful to the staff who responded to this incident,” says Tess Craigie, MSAC Risk Manager. “Not only did the responding team show calmness and confidence when confronted with a terrible situation, they also supported the family and maintained privacy of the incident. The child is now happy at home without any long-term effects, thanks to their training and teamwork.”
HEART ATTACK IN THE GYMNASIUM
A Yarra Leisure patron suffered a heart attack in the gym, but the quick-thinking response of gym and pool lifeguard staff saw the delivery of CPR and use of a defibrillator as soon as possible, which led to the patron making a full recovery. The staff were praised by the surgeons and paramedics who later treated the patron, and they said the patron’s recovery was largely due to the timeliness and quality of the treatment provided by the staff.
“The event reinforced the value of quality First Aid and Pool Lifeguard training for all staff in large venues,” says RJ Houston, Operations Coordinator for Yarra Leisure. “In the incident response, it was noted that the staff with this specific training fell immediately into of the three-person responder system, even though some of the gym staff hadn’t actively supervised a pool area in years.”
“They also walked away from the incident with confidence, knowing they’d done ‘the right thing’,” says RJ, “because they were able to reference a specific response template required of them during an emergency situation.”
For more information on Everyday Lifesavers please visit: https://lsv.com.au/lsv-everyday-lifesavers-2/