Pool lifeguards prevent drowning

Lifeguards prepare for the worst, and hope they never have to use the skills they constantly practice.

The worst-case scenario became reality for the guards on duty at the Hood River Aquatic Center Tuesday afternoon.

At about 4:45 p.m., a boy swimming in the deep end paddled to the side of the pool breathing heavily. Shortly after he lost consciousness and slipped under water.

Within seconds a lifeguard was in the water pulling him to the surface and then to the deck of the pool.

He checked the boy’s pulse and breathing, and did not find signs of either.

While the lifeguard and another Parks and Recreation employee started CPR, two other lifeguards helped clear the pool deck while another went to comfort the boy’s family.

“We practice and practice this same scenario time and time again; it paid off when we needed it and they executed it perfectly,” said Hood River Parks and Recreation Assistant Superintendant Scott Baker, who witnessed the lifeguards jumping into action.

After two rounds of CPR the boy regained semi-consciousness and began coughing up water.

While CPR was being performed, 9-1-1 was called and EMTs from the Hood River Fire station — across a parking lot from the pool — arrived even before the emergency was toned out over the dispatch system.

Captain Manual Irusta of Hood River Fire said someone shouted out from the pool that assistance was needed and EMTs who happened to be out in the parking lot responded to the distress call.

“It was pretty darn immediate,” Baker said.

Once the EMTs arrived the lifeguards then passed care over to them and the boy was transported Providence Hood River Memorial hospital and then to a Portland-area hospital, where he is reportedly in stable condition.

“By the time we got to his side he was already breathing on his own,” Irusta said.

Baker said the Parks and Recreation staff could not be more proud of the way the lifeguards handled themselves. After a debriefing the day following the incident, they will be holding a thank-you get-together for everyone on shift during the rescue.

“You hope an accident like this never happens,” Baker said. “And to watch them do their assigned roles just like they had been trained was nice to see.”

Baker stressed that with so much water available for recreation in the Gorge, it is a good idea to be as prepared as possible, particularly during the summer.

“You can never have too many swim lessons,” he said.

As for the lifeguard who went into the water to pull the boy out, Baker said he was on a previously scheduled vacation later this week.

A well-deserved one.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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