From the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company:
A 911 call came in to the Harford County Emergency Operations Center on Friday, February 10, 2017, at 6:11 PM reporting a non-breathing, 16-year old female swimmer at Edgewood Middle School, 2415 Willoughby Beach Road in Edgewood.
Call information indicated that this was a result of a drowning. The 911 call taker promptly processed the call and one minute later the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company was alerted. A fire engine from the Hanson Road Station, Fort Hanson, and a paramedic unit from the Old Mountain Road South station responded. The fire engine, staffed by firefighters who are also trained as EMTs, arrived at 6:16 PM. The engine crew found a 16-year old swim team member who was out of the water and awake and talking. The crew was informed that she was competing in a swim-a-thon during a swim practice and did not surface. A teammate assisted the patient to the surface where another swimmer’s parent removed her from the water. Bystander CPR was initiated by the rescuing parent and a Swim Team Coach.
Shortly thereafter, the patient was breathing. As a precaution, the patient was taken by JMVFC paramedic unit to the John’s Hopkins Children Center in Baltimore. This is protocol following a near-drowning incident. She was released from the hospital the next day. It is believed that the swimmer suffered a shallow water blackout, which is a form of near-drowning. The Swim Team Coach is CPR certified. The parent is not CPR certified, but worked with the Coach to resuscitate the patient.
It is believed that the actions of the bystanders to initiate CPR prior to the arrival of the JMVFC undoubtedly helped save the swimmer’s life.
The American Heart Association says, “when a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby. Almost 90 percent of people who suffer out-ofhospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.” Although the JMVFC does not offer citizen CPR classes, our neighbor, the Abingdon Fire Company, does. For information on their CPR classes, visit https://www.abingdonfc.com/content/cpr/.
Shallow water blackout (SWB) prevention says, “although there are no hard statistics for SWB, it is estimated by a number of sources that SWB is responsible for up to 20% of all drownings.”
More information on shallow water blackouts can be found at http://www.shallowwaterblackoutprevention.org.
The family is requesting privacy. They have released a statement that is attached.
Family statement following the near drowning, shallow water blackout incident in Edgewood, MD on February 10, 2017.
We are incredibly grateful to the coaches, parents, swimmers and paramedics who all assisted our daughter. While everyone hopes that they never need to either receive or administer CPR, it was only because there were people trained in what to do and how to do it, that we have our daughter at home with us today. There are procedures and policies in place to deal with a life threatening incident at any school event. Everyone hopes that they never need to be used. In this instance, the training, policy and procedures worked exactly as they were supposed to and saved the life of our daughter. Furthermore, if our daughter who is an accomplished swimmer, had a
near drowning accident, we can only imagine how much more at risk of drowning the children of Edgewood and Joppa would be if the pools were to be closed and they lost their access to swim lessons. We would not wish the fear we felt with that phone call on any parent. Again, we are extremely grateful to the coaches and parents who retrieved her from the water and performed CPR on her when she was non-responsive. Had they not had that training instead of fixing our daughter breakfast the next morning, we may have been meeting with a funeral director. In addition, the paramedics who responded were professional and kind to both our daughter and our family during one of the most stressful incidents of our life.