POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The scene at the Pound Ridge Town Pool on Tuesday morning looked dire: A swimmer was having a cardiac emergency, and the lifeguard who jumped in to save him had suffered a back injury during the rescue.
The realistic-looking scenario was actually an emergency drill involving the Pound Ridge Police and Fire departments, the town Office of Emergency Management, the Ambulance Corps and the state police.
“The goal is to let the camp and the pool people understand what we do when we shut down the park,” said Pound Ridge Police Chief Dave Ryan, “because things do happen.”
While the Pound Ridge pool lifeguards worked on administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation to both patients, counselors from Camp Pound Ridge evacuated their campers to the basketball court.
“The kids did an excellent job,” said Elmir Pasalic, the Pound Ridge firefighter who played the role of the cardiac victim. "They coordinated really well."
“He's a big guy and (the lifeguards) got him out right away,” said Jim Perry, chief of Pound Ridge’s Office of Emergency Management.
Organizers had made sure to set up some intentional hurdles beforehand: David Goldberg, director of the Pound Ridge Recreation Department, said CPR masks had been taken out of all of the pool’s medical kits before the drill began, and the key for the pool gate was put on a chain around the “injured” lifeguard’s neck.
As the precious minutes ticked by, an ambulance arrived to take the injured lifeguard to the landing site of a helicopter, which was dispatched from the New York state troopers’ mobile life support unit.
Gathering at the Town House after drill, emergency officials evaluated the response team's coordination efforts.
When the whistle blows, Ryan said, a runner must speedily relay information to the 911 caller, because the dispatcher needs to know as much detail as possible to decide, for example, whether to send one ambulance or two.
“The more information we can give them on a 911 call,” Ryan said, “then they know exactly what resources to send.”