In just a matter of three days, two members of staff from Moss Vale War Memorial Aquatic Centre were involved in two separate incidents that called upon their prompt reaction and use of their training.
Kirrilee Bracht is a long-term member of the Moss Vale Learn to Swim team. She loves open water swimming and always tries to get in two to three swims each week in the Minnamurra River just to the north of Kiama. Having swum there for so long she knows the moods of the river, particularly on an outgoing tide. It was during such a tide that saw a father and three children, supported only by floating toys, attempt to reach a sandbar.
Kirrilee and her friends were concerned but what happened next turned into a near tragedy. One of the children, a ten-year-old girl, fell off her inflatable and was clearly struggling to keep afloat and battle the current. Her panicked screams were muffled each time she went under. Her father desperately tried to reach her but he too was getting into difficulties.
To make matters worse the other two children were drifting away in the opposite direction. As Kirrilee modestly explained, “it is reassuring how quickly your training and experiences switch you onto autopilot and what needs to be done gets done.” Thankfully with the help of a boat owner and Kirrilee’s friends, all were safely pulled from the water and reunited with a very worried Mum. Kirrilee checked all for any problems and had a good chat about the dangers of swimming in unfamiliar waters.
When the mother realised that Kirrilee was a swimming instructor she promptly asked for her card!
Three days earlier, Holly Jefford, a BlueFit member of the Moss Vale reception staff and Lifeguard team was involved in another emergency. As part of her degree study, Holly was in Parish Park, Wollongong attending a placement with a local sports physiotherapist.
While they were packing up, a player from one of the teams, using the park for training, ran over and told Holly that another player was having an allergic reaction and asked if she would be able to assist. Holly attended to the player, talking and reassuring while another player went to the clubhouse for a first aid kit. At this stage, it did not look too serious but suddenly the player collapsed into unconsciousness.
Holly’s first aid training kicked in. Triple zero was called, an Epi-pen was administered and the player was constantly monitored for vital signs until the ambulance arrived.
Holly credits her first aid training as being vitally important to be able to effectively communicate the situation to the ambulance operator and it was her training that allowed her to remain calm throughout the entire emergency. “The one thing I really learnt through this experience is to quickly send for help and always try to stay calm.”
Kirrilee and Holly, we are so proud of your impressive efforts within the community, taking your training from the workplace and applying to help in real life!