Two work­ers hon­ored for sav­ing boy’s life at pool

Pool co-man­ager hopes in­ci­dent serves as re­minder of the im­por­tance of pool safety

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Laura E. Quain

Kutz­town Bor­ough Coun­cil hon­ored two Kutz­town Swim­ming Pool em­ploy­ees for their fast-act­ing con­tri­bu­tions that saved a tod­dler’s life at the end of this sum­mer.

A co-man­ager and a head life­guard for the Kutz­town Swim­ming Pool were thanked and com­mended at the Septem­ber Kutz­town Bor­ough Coun­cil meet­ing for their life-sav­ing ac­tions that saved the life of a child who was less than 3 years old fol­low­ing an Aug. 26 in­ci­dent.

Lisa Reilly, the co-man­ager on scene at the time of the in­ci­dent, says that her CPR train­ing has paid off after not hav­ing to use them in a life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dent in her 18 years of pool man­ag­ing.

At about 1 p.m. both were made aware of the sit­u­a­tion when a mother pulled “the limp and ashen body of a small boy” from the wa­ter. Ac­cord­ing to Reilly, Ei­gen­brod ap­plied three rounds of com­pres­sions, which caused the child to re­gur­gi­tate some wa­ter, only to lose con­scious­ness again. The child re­cov­ered and ex­pelled the rest of the wa­ter after an­other round of chest com­pres­sions.

The Kutz­town Po­lice, Kutz­town Fire Depart­ment and a North­east­ern Berks EMS were on scene shortly after the child re­gained con­scious­ness.

Both Reilly and Ei­gen­brod re­acted promptly to the sit­u­a­tion, but in ret­ro­spect both agree that it could have been avoided, they ex­press the im­por­tance of pool safety.

“Chil­dren need su­per­vi­sion at all times, es­pe­cially those not wear­ing flota­tion de­vices,” said Reilly. “They move quickly and have no fear. As a Body Zone swim in­struc­tor in the off sea­son, I can’t stress enough to par­ents the im­por­tance of swim lessons and more im­por­tantly a child should be wa­ter safe. It is a par­ents’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to watch their child, be in the wa­ter with them and put them in life jack­ets. Too of­ten life­guards are seen as babysit­ters and this should not be the case.”

Like Reilly, Ei­gen­brod also works at Body Zone as a swim in­struc­tor.

“This en­tire or­deal could have been pre­vented,” said Ei­gen­brod. “I would first off like to say that the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity falls onto the par­ents. They’re the ones that know the abil­i­ties of their child. So if the child doesn’t know how to swim, putting them in some sort of floata­tion de­vice should be done be­fore the child is out of sight from them. Sec­ondly, swim lessons are a great idea to have chil­dren learn how to help them­selves in a trou­ble­some sit­u­a­tion.”

Swim­ming is not just dan­ger­ous for chil­dren; ev­ery­one should mind their sur­round­ings when in the wa­ter.

“No amount of skill can en­sure your safety,” said Ei­gen­brod. “I strongly en­cour­age peo­ple to swim with friends, or for par­ents to pair their chil­dren up. This is so that if, god for­bid, there is an in­ci­dent, some­body can go get help.”

The in­ci­dent is seen as not only a les­son for swim­mers, but for life­guards as well.

“That day was also very hard for the guards that were work­ing,” said Reilly. “They all were first-year guards who re­al­ized that be­ing a life­guard is not just about sit­ting in the stand work­ing on their tan, it’s about scan­ning the pool ef­fec­tively and al­ways look­ing at the bot­tom of the pool for any­thing that just doesn’t seem right.”

Thanks to the ef­forts and fast ac­tions of Reilly and Ei­gen­brod, the child made a full re­cov­ery and cel­e­brated his third birth­day in the weeks fol­low­ing the Septem­ber Bor­ough Coun­cil meet­ing.

“The Kutz­town pool also of­fers swim lessons, which are free to those who pur­chase a pool pass,” said Ei­gen­brod. “Swim­ming can be a lot of fun, but it only takes a split sec­ond for some­thing tragic to oc­cur. For that rea­son, it’s im­por­tant that we have re­spect for the wa­ter and to avoid be­com­ing com­pla­cent.”

LAURA QUAIN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Above, Pa­trick Ei­gen­brod, head life­guard (mid­dle), is joined by Boy Scout Troop 101 while Kutz­town Mayor Sandy Green, left, rec­og­nizes him dur­ing the Septem­ber Kutz­town Bor­ough Coun­cil meet­ing. Ei­gen­brod was hon­ored for his ac­tions that saved a boy at Kutz­town Pool.

Left, Lisa Reilly, Kutz­town Pool Co-Man­ager, with Kutz­town Mayor Sandy Green dur­ing the Septem­ber Kutz­town Bor­ough Coun­cil meet­ing. Reilly was hon­ored for her ac­tions that saved a boy at Kutz­town Pool.

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