Firefighters, lifeguards complete drowning-prevention training in Pflugerville

Firefighters from Travis County ESD No. 2 and Pflugerville lifeguards worked together on Thursday for a drowning-prevention training at Scott Mentzer Pool.

"They're simulating all the things that would really go down, from the start of the call, where if someone is underwater at a pool, the lifeguards from the pool jump in, get the patient, pull them out of the water, get them to the side of the pool, begin their life-saving resuscitation measures and call fire, EMS," said Assist. Chief Mark Moellenberg at Travis County ESD No. 2. "We arrive, take over the patient care and begin doing those advanced life-saving skills."

Lt. Joshua Tiemann, a paramedic, said everybody has a role to play.

"When you've got someone that is suctioning an airway, getting fluids out of the airway, out of the throat, out of the mouth, while someone's trying to use a bag valve mask and actually provide air to the lungs, it can be a little chaotic," he said. "We've got people that are doing compressions, and we have a feedback system that is saying, ‘Hey, you're doing good compressions,’ or if it's too fast or too slow."

According to Assist. Chief Moellenberg, this "scenario-based training" is held annually. He said the department has already responded to a near-drowning at a private pool within the past couple of weeks. 

For parents, he recommended teaching children to swim at a young age and installing safety fencing at private pools with no lifeguard. Adults should be present when children are in the water and should also know CPR.

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"Often people think kids are going to be splashing around in the water, and then you're going to hear them drown, and that is generally not the case. It's a very silent thing that occurs," said Assist. Chief Moellenberg. "It just happens really, really quickly. That's all you ever hear anybody say after a drowning occurs, is it happened so quickly."