New training for lifeguards at Chelsea Piers after near drowning
Updated 4:10 pm, Tuesday, September 5, 2017
STAMFORD — Less than a month after a 5-year-old boy survived a near drowning at Chelsea Piers, the Stamford sports facility has hired an independent company to review its poolside safety procedures.
On Friday when the pools are closed for yearly maintenance, an international aquatic safety and consulting firm will be on site to train lifeguards and managers, according to an announcement to club members that was shared with the Stamford Advocate.
The Aug. 3 incident with the boy, who is from New Canaan, occurred when a lifeguard noticed a child underwater in a pool at the complex. Police said the child had been submerged for about four minutes before being pulled out and given lifesaving treatment.
Stamford Police Lt. Tom Barcello said the case is still under investigation and no decision has been made about whether to charge a 23-year-old male lifeguard with risking injury to a child.
While authorities were concerned about brain damage the boy may have suffered after being without oxygen for so long, he made an unexpected recovery and was returned to his home days later.
The company, Ellis & Associates, will begin implementing its International Lifeguard Training Program as well as its best practices, the announcement said.
When the aquatics facility reopens on Wednesday, Sept. 6, protocols should be in place and will be reinforced throughout the year on an ongoing basis, the announcement said.
While its lifeguards are certified by the American Red Cross, after a period of careful consideration Chelsea Piers decided to begin a new partnership with Ellis & Associates, who also consults for Six Flags Great Adventure, Hershey Park, Camelback Resort and others, the announcement said.
In an emailed statement, a representative of Chelsea Piers said Thursday the company had already reached out to Ellis & Associates prior to the near-drowning incident.
Ellis & Associates “has pioneered major changes to lifeguard training, including the first introduction of the rescue tube and elimination of body contact rescues, AED and Oxygen training and in water resuscitation,” the representative said. “All of these major lifeguard training enhancements pioneered by Ellis & Associates are now adopted by most if not all other lifeguard training agencies, including the ARC.”
Asked if the Ellis program is more rigorous than the Red Cross program, the Chelsea Piers representative added: “The ILTP program is a comprehensive program whereas other lifeguard programs offer some of the ILTP components as optional. Ellis & Associates Comprehensive Risk Management Program, which is layered on top of the training program, provides standards, procedures and processes for aquatic facility operation and patient care that exceed all local, state and industry standards worldwide.”