Episode 5: Emergency Action Plans

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Navigating Neva! Neva Nicole here. Today is episode five, and today we're talking about Emergency action plans. And, that's because I want no drownings; I want a zero drowning summer. I want you to be safe, and I want each child to be safe. 

I’m an aquatic professional with 20 plus years experience in my industry; check out my bio.

From sitting on the stand guarding to certifying lifeguards and running a pool-- I’ve seen a lot. And I’m here to share with you my opinions and the resources that I’ve learned while I was out there.

Stay tuned and listen up, because today we've got some good stuff.

Emergency Action Plan.

According to the American Red Cross, an emergency action plan is a detailed plan that describes how everyone should act in an emergency. And according to OSHA, an emergency action plan is here to keep us safe, and like any good plan, it only works if we put the plan into place.

So, we've got some things to talk about as far as aquatics and pools, and safety go.

So, the first thing I want to talk about is: you should probably get trained in first aid and CPR, because anything could go wrong at the pool. Most importantly: we could run, we could fall, we could get shoved, we could go into water, and then we're gonna have blood. We might have a, so a standard first aid class would teach us how to take care of this.

So, if you haven't registered for a first aid class or a CPR class, I definitely recommend it; but it's also important to have the poison control number nearby. 

This is a number I memorized and learned long long ago, and if you don't know it you should. I’m going to tell you what it is, it's 1-800-222-1222.

So, at the pool, there's chemicals. And if your kids aren't going to end up in the pump room, or where you store the chemicals they could still end up needing you- to call the poison control number. So have this number handy and know what it is.

I’m going to tell you a story: I’ve got tons of them, remember. One time we had some kids; they were at the pool and the little girl was throwing up, and she wouldn't stop throwing up. She kept throwing up, throwing up, throwing up. The Mom couldn't figure out what happened.

Well, what happened is: she drank the pool water, and as a result she threw up.

So when I teach swim lessons, I always tell the kids not to drink the water. One of their favorite things to do is to put the water in their mouth and spit it out at each other, and my favorite thing to tell them is--  the water is nice and clean but I put my feet in it, ‘yuck’, gross feet are icky -- don't drink the pool water.

When I teach the baby classes, I always tell the parents that their children may have diarrhea and if they do, don't be alarmed; it's probably because they swallowed some pool water.

Our pools are nice and pretty and they're clean, but you know, a normal body of water that sits in your backyard is not clean. It would be stagnant, it would grow things. But our pools move and circulate, and we put chemicals in them. Therefore, they're nice and pretty. So we don't want to drink the water, we don't want the kids to drink the water; there's chemicals in the water. Avoid the chemicals, avoid drinking the pool water. If you do, that could happen. 

On that note there's ‘recreational water illnesses’. If you are not familiar with ‘recreational water illnesses’, get familiar with the cdc.gov website. Go under cdc.gov ‘healthy swimming’ or healthy water’,’healthy swimming materials’-- they have great educational flyers; I’ve loved these for years.

Remember, I’ve been in aquatics for years, so they have really cool things like: don't swallow the pool water; they've got pictures like crypto and swimming; don’t mix. If you don't know what crypto is-- the CDC will tell you. Diarrhea and swimming don't mix; pee and swimming don't mix; keep the pee out of the pool.

Check out ‘healthy and safe swimming’ -- they've got swimming habits on there, but they list all the recreational -- all the recreational water illnesses that you can get. Usually we get them because people go swimming with diarrhea and then we drink the water, and then we get sick. So, that would be a bad thing. So, check that out.

I told you guys from the beginning I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I’m gonna point you on the direction to where the good information is. So, on the CDC's website there's a whole bunch of information about ‘pool chemical safety’, ‘store pool chemicals safely’.

So it's going to tell you all that good stuff as to where you could, where you should keep your stuff and that is what I want you guys to do. 

Next, I’m going share with you a nice little story about poop because who doesn't love a good story about poop. So I was at the pool and I’m a mom and I have two boys, and for the safety of my boys I won't tell you which boy. So I had a boy and you know we were potty training. I know this because he was under the age of three. So most states have a rule that if you're under the age of three, you have to wear a swim diaper or a plastic pant and if you didn't know this, I’m sure your state has this rule and you should follow it because we don't want ‘recreational water illnesses’ and we don't want poop or fecal matter in the water.

So he said he had to go potty and I was walking up the stairs, and we were going to go to the bathroom and use the facilities and we're on the stairs. And, we don't make it out of the pool, so we now have fecal matter all over the steps, and I look up at my boss and I’m very sorry and obviously very embarrassed. And I said: ‘if you can clean this up --referring to the pool. I would clean this up referring to my child, so I lift him up out of the water and run with him dripping, sorry I walk quickly because we don't run on the pool deck, to the facilities where I now have to hose him down in the bathroom which is nice because there's a handicapped stall with a handicap shower, and I get to rinse him off and it was nothing solid. So, if you're not familiar with how to treat a pool, my boss got to shock the pool and luckily it was like five or ten minutes to closing.

So, we were closed for the day anyway and if this happens at your home or backyard pool, you definitely want to treat your water. That’s the whole point of the story: you want to treat your pool and take care of it the proper way so that your family does not get a recreational water illness, and then the whole family is sick from your fecal incident, because that would be an unpleasant experience or an ‘unfun’ summer.

We definitely want to avoid those types of incidences if we can. Those are not pleasant at all.

So next on our topics is: water safety post. So, this is kind of like an absolute thing that's gone now. I’m gonna put it up and let you guys see what it is. But basically it's a post that you make and you can put a throw bag on it, or a throw rope or you can make a heaving jug. We always do this activity and I think it's really nice. So what happens is, if you have a waterfront or a swimming hole or a place where kids go swimming, you kind of make a safety station so you might want to put a life jacket there or a ring buoy or throw rope or throw bag, so that, if someone's in trouble in the water you can run to the safety post and grab the equipment that you need, and toss it out to the person in trouble in the water.

And then they can get it and then you got it and then they're all safe. And that's what we like to do and then they come back and then you've saved somebody and it's exciting. So that's a cool activity that I like to do with the kids. 

So if you have a place in your town where people have unfortunate events occur, you could make a life-jacket tree. I’ve seen communities do that you can make a safety post. I’m going to post that up, I like the safety post idea but back on track; we've got reach and ‘throw, don't go’ that one's my favorite. So the American Red Cross whales’ long fellow whales’ tales lessons and we talk about reaching and throwing don’t go. 

So if you're going to get in trouble: we don't go; we do not get in the water and swim out to the person; we find an item that we can use to extend our reach. Maybe it's a beach towel, maybe it's an ore, maybe it's a pool noodle, maybe it's a tree branch, and we reach. Or maybe it's something we can throw like a ring buoy or maybe it's a life jacket attached to a string or maybe it's a cooler with a rope on it. Anything that we can throw out to the person in trouble in the water and then pull them in to safety. So that is your emergency action plan. 

Who’s doing what I the person that identified the problem. I’m going to reach or throw to the person in trouble in the water that is how I am making a difference.

And then the next topic is an actual drowning and this is what we do for drownings that happen in the water. So if there's a drowning in the water, what we want to do is we're going to not reinvent the wheel but there are two things that already exist. One the American Red Cross has the ‘circle of drowning prevention’ which is very similar to what we've been talking about the last few weeks.

‘The circle of drowning prevention’ is the American red cross's method as to how we're going to save somebody who's in trouble in the water and that you're gonna have.  You’re gonna stay within arm's length of the child, you're gonna have a fence around the pool, you're gonna swim where a lifeguard is, or in a supervised area, you're going to put life jackets on a non-swimmer, and you're going to learn to swim: those are layers of protection that we would use to prevent drowning.

So we're going to plan ahead in the event that those are not put in place, or that those are challenged then there's the chain of drowning survival. So, a person who is drowning has the best chance of survival if these steps are followed. So, first you have to recognize that the drowning has occurred so they're going to wave: ‘hey help me’ which as we've discussed in previous segments that does not always occur a drowning is silent- it happens quickly, they don't say, ‘hey help me’. However, a distressed swimmer can call out for help so if they have a cramp, if they've gone too far they can say, ‘hey help me’ and you can help them. So you're gonna help them. Maybe, they didn't intend to go swimming, maybe they bumped into the pool, and it's cold and they're calling out for help.

So you know, you've identified that there's a situation and then you're going to throw something to them, so you're going to toss them: a ring buoy, or a throw rope, or a heaving jug that you made. Then you're going to make a call to 9-1-1 not before. You make the rescue but after you've brought them to the side of the pool, and then if needed you're going to perform CPR. And then if you guys find this the American Red Cross chain of drowning survival, they have a little cardiac ekg squiggly line. 

That squiggly line is representing a shock. If you have a AED or defibrillator, so if you're at a facility that has an AED or defibrillator you can give them a shock. If not you know the squad would arrive, because you called 9-1-1 and they would give a shock. So, there's a lot going on in this segment. One: I want you to know that emergency action plans are not just for the person drowned. What do I do now ?

 In the last episode I talked about why CPR is so essential and it's important in the drowning process. So yes, if someone has taken in water and you find them in the pool, we want to give them CPR. But, there are other things that could happen at the pool, such as chemicals, or such as they bump their head and now they have a head, neck or back injury. So with all that being said: I am here for you, for home, not pool not at your facility but in your home where you guys are concerned that you don't know how to properly save your own people.

I don't want that to be your summer, so I am here to help you with that. If you want my help I will help you make an emergency action plan for your home. However, there are people already out there that will help you, so I have a good friend his name is Wesley King, and he has a business it is called, I think he calls it ‘Wesley King’ or ‘Wesley King Consulting.’ I do know that the website is wesleykingkoco.com and on his, he has maps for emergency action plans, he has presentations, he will also do a free intro call on his website, he has links, and he has manuals and he has ‘how to create an emergency action plan’ and checklist. So if you guys go to his website wesleykingko.com, all of that stuff is there and his business name is Wesley king Consulting. He is an aquatics safety person and services aquatic safety services and you can get information there, but he's not the only one. There is another company out there, and I’m going to tell you who they are, there's a company called Aquatics Vibe and I asked them if they had emergency action plans, so they have emergency action plans, they make them, they have examples that you can see and then they have a course that you can take. So, they have a course for parents. 

I’m going to post this on my facebook page and my website It's called a live solutions, a live water smart parents so you guys can take that course a live aquatic vibes by live solutions so those are two other companies that do this stuff as well, but I will help you write some stuff I was looking all over because I don't like to reinvent the wheel here. I was looking for something that you guys could put up because I’m from the aquatic industry and from a lifeguard standpoint. All over the place, they have emergency action plans for a person that has a spinal injury, they have emergency action plans for if somebody needs to enter the water to make a rescue -- where we have to remove the person from the water and perform CPR. And I am extremely familiar with those and I didn't find anything like that for the general public and that's what I wanted. So I would love to make them and I would love to help you guys have them so that everybody knows what to do in the event that there is an emergency.

The problem is you're not a facility and you don't have two guards guarding so it's really hard to tell you who does what, when there's not always people there but we can definitely make one if you and I talk about it and I’d like to help you do that and maybe after I do a few with you I'll know how to make a generic one so that we can just have them out there for the public so that we can educate you guys and keep you safe because we don't want any drownings.

All right, well I feel that we have really done a good job with educating you guys so I like to review if you haven't figured that out yet. So episode one was ‘our layers of protection’, episode two was ‘water safety’, episode three was the ‘drowning process’, episode four was ‘CPR and why it's essential in the drowning process or its role in the drowning process, and then today we talked about ‘emergency action plans’ and that was not just what we do if someone's in the pool and I have to get them out and call 9-1-1 and perform CPR but it was recreational water illnesses and it was fecal contaminations and it was all that good stuff. And I hope I’ve put you guys in the right path so that if you have some questions you know where to go. I gave you some good resources for some stuff that's already out there and if I’m overlooking some stuff or I’m not sharing, please email me navigatingneva@gmail.com. Again I can make more episodes, we can do live interviews, I want to make sure that we've got all the resources we need. If you want me to help you with your emergency action plan, please reach out navigatingneva@gmail.com and we'll get you an emergency action plan so that you know your ducks in a row, so that everybody knows their role in that emergency and they know what to do. 

Please have a phone outside at your pool, please get trained in CPR if you are not already trained in CPR, again go right now and learn handsonlycpr.com and learn CPR but get certified in CPR because for a drowning victim, breaths are essential. 

And that my friends is all for today.

This is navigating Neva with Neva Nicole. Remember to have a happy and safe summer, we want no drownings.

Until next time, enjoy your summer.

Mentioned in this episode:

Wesley King's website. He has sample EAP for facilities 


Alive Solutions https://alive-solutions.com/