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Keeping them safe during the pool season

Group of people training
On June 21, the Green Bay Metro Fire Department and Green Bay Parks, Recreation & Forestry held a mock-training scenario at the Joannes Aquatic Center. Green Bay Parks photo

By Kris Leonhardt/Mike Hollihan

Press Times staff

GREEN BAY – On June 21, the Green Bay Metro Fire Department and Green Bay Parks, Recreation & Forestry teamed up to help provide a safe pool season this summer, by hosting a mock-training scenario at the Joannes Aquatic Center.

Training included a lifeguard rescue, patient handling and transfer of care to EMS in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the two departments.

“You can start being a lifeguard at 15, so we have a lot of teenage staff working for our facilities — a lot of new lifeguards this year — which is great,” explained Green Bay Parks Recreation Manager Ann Moeller.

“We can train and do in-services all day long, but until you actually see the lights and paramedics coming through with the stretcher, it’s hard to really imagine what that looks like. So it was really important for us to give a realistic view of what a true emergency looks like.

Group of people training
Training included a lifeguard rescue, patient handling and transfer of care to EMS in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the two departments. Green Bay Parks photo

“The last few years we’ve had a few serious situations where we’ve had to call 911, and I’ve noticed that there is a little bit of deer in headlights and taking a second to process. They always have done a really great job, but let’s eliminate that second where it takes a minute. Like okay, this is real and the more you do it and the more repetition, the easier it gets.”

Moeller said that during the day’s training, she noticed things getting smoother with each scenario that was played out.

“We did basically the same scenario three times,” she said. “First time, we had a lot of notes and then we had some debriefing. And the second scenario was much, much better. And the third one was almost flawless. So that just shows the power of training and repetition.”

Moeller said that it was also great training for the fire department.

“Unfortunately, they are only coming here at a time of emergency. So it is good to talk through some things — what does our staff do? What do they do when they get hit? What is the information they’re going to need to know? It just makes them more familiar with our facilities and our staff and our layout. And that’s even changed how we do something because of their recommendation of how they’re going to get to a certain spot of the pool. So it was mutually beneficial,” she added.

“Obviously our lifeguards are highly trained. We do our in-services, we make sure that they’re ready to go in time of emergency, but ultimately we asked for parent support as well and parents are the first line of defense when keeping their kids safe in and around the pool.”

Moeller said that the parks department also rewrote their policy for this summer’s pool season, regarding the age that children can be to swim unattended.

“We even took that a step further and said that if any child’s seven and under, [the child] has a parent in the water within arm’s reach at all times. Just kind of reinforcing the fact that our lifeguards are here for an emergency; but ultimately, we ask that the parents are always right where their kids are, to keep them safe.”

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