Spinal injury drill held at Jeff swimming pool

Staff at the Jefferson municipal pool successfully completed a drill last week involving a spinal injury.

Pool manager Simeon Lang conducted the drill. Veteran lifeguard Allison Higgins was the “victim,” suffering a spinal injury after striking the diving board with her head as she dove into 10-foot deep water.

Pool drillGuards on duty – Karter Ruzicka (left), Jade Lea Ayala (center, facing away) and Kate Larson (right) – responded to Higgins  in the water. Thea Ballard was on duty in the guard house. Ballard cleared the pool of other swimmers, called 911, did crowd control, and opened the gates for the ambulance.

Greene County EMS and the Jefferson police department were aware that it was a drill as they responded. The guards were bringing the victim to the side of the pool when the EMS crew arrived. EMS director Dennis Morlan commented after the drill that crowd control was done very well, that having someone at the gate to explain the situation was helpful, and that the guard were able to answer questions about the victim.

“I feel this is great for our guards to actually have this experience before there is an accident,” said Jefferson park and recreation director Vicky Lautner. “Hopefully nothing like this ever happens in the Jefferson pool, but I am confident if we have an incident, Simeon has done a nice job training the guards on how they should react.”

The guards and Lang meet weekly to go over possible scenarios and how they should be handled. The guards also have to meet their quota for swimming laps to stay in shape, Lautner said.

Lautner thanked Greene County EMS, the dispatcher and the Jefferson police department for playing their part in the drill.


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