A miscommunication in dispatching could have ended in tragedy, but quick thinking by Madison Township firefighters and an off-duty nurse helped saved the life of a two-year-old boy.
On the evening of May 23, a dispatch went out to the Violet Township Fire Department to respond to the report of a drowning victim on Kramer Street. However, according to a letter of appreciation sent by Violet Township Fire Chief Kenn Taylor to Madison Township Chief Clifford Mason, the dispatch should have been routed to Madison Township Medic 182.
Violet Township Medic 591 was already in-service at their station due to a walk-in.
However, the crew at Station 182 on Gender Road in Canal Winchester heard the Violet Township dispatch and, realizing they were much closer to the incident, responded immediately. Taylor lauded Madison Township for its quick response, which he felt resulted in a positive outcome for the young boy.
"He was in the water for an undetermined amount of time," reported Madison Township Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Rider. "Each of the parents thought the other was watching the boy. They started looking around the yard and by the pool. The pool was covered, but somehow he had gotten under the cover.
"When we arrived, they had the child out of the water. A neighbor who is a registered nurse did CPR and he was breathing on his own when we arrived. He was taken to Children’s Hospital for observation and then released."
Rider said near drowning incidents, like this one that happened in late May, are uncommon and he has only been on a couple of runs such as this since joining the department in 1989.
Statistics and tips
According to the American Institute for Preventative Medicine, each year almost 8,000 people die from drowning. Seventy percent of all near-drowning victims recover; 25 percent die, and five percent have brain damage. A toddler can drown in as little as two inches of water in a bathtub, sink, etc. Toilet bowls are unsafe, too, if a small child falls into one head-first.
The signs and symptoms of near drowning are:
•A person is in the water with signs of distress.
•The person does not respond or can’t breathe.
•He or she can’t stay above water, swims unevenly, signals for help, etc.
•Their ears or lips are blue. The skin is cold and pale.
•They could be vomiting, choking, and/or have a bloated abdomen.
•Confusion and lethargy are also symptoms.
Immediate medical care is needed for incidents of near-drowning.
The institute recommends the following tips for child safety around water sources:
•Never leave an infant or child alone in any type of bathtub.
•Supervise young children in the bathroom.
•Never leave a child alone near water, swimming pools, etc.
•Lock gates to keep children from getting near swimming pools.
•Have a phone near outdoor pools, etc.
•Teach children to swim.
•Tell them not to swim alone and not to swim too far from shore without a lifeguard or other adult swimmer.
•Put a personal floatation device on each child when near the water or on a boat.
•Tell children to check the depth of water before diving in. It should be at least 9 feet deep.