Safety First at Rosemary Pool

Lifeguards teamed up with Needham Police and Fire personnel for a water rescue training exercise on Thursday, June 14, as the pool staff prepares for the season opening next week.

With expected to open for the season next week, pool staff got a little extra training on Thursday afternoon—running through a simulated swimming accident with members of the and departments.

Though the Rosemary Pool lifeguards have always been well trained in safety protocol and response, such as CPR and First Aid, the interaction with police and fire was a new training exercise designed to help everyone understand just what an emergency response would look like.

“We always try to change up our training,” said Patty Carey, Park and Recreation Department director. “We do a lot of drills with them. But it’s nice to do it with the professionals that are going to respond instead of waiting until there’s an accident.”

In the simulation, one of the lifeguards pretended to have hit his head after diving into the water and had to be rescued from the water carefully by other lifeguards, on a back board, to protect his head and neck in the possibility of a spinal cord injury.

Once Needham emergency personnel arrived, lifeguards continued to help by sharing information, keeping other people out of the way and helping to carry the injured person over the sand about 300 feet to an ambulance parked at the gate on Rosemary Street.

“It's mostly about the interaction, so they [the lifeguards] know what happens when they call 9-1-1—who’s going to show up, when they’re going to show up and how many people will show up,” Needham Fire Chief Paul Buckley said. “I think part of it may help alleviate any concerns they have that it’s going to take a long time. We can be here, in most cases, in 2 minutes maximum.”

The pool is located almost exactly between two fire stations, so in the case of an emergency, personnel at either location could respond quickly, Buckley said.

While the department runs through a variety of drills on a regular basis, with schools and other agencies, Buckley said it was the first time he could recall running this type of drill with the pool staff. But he thought it was a great idea.

“The pool’s been here for years, and I can’t remember ever having a pool-related emergency. We’ve had some medical emergencies down here, maybe little accidents where kids fell, but nothing tragic involving the pool,” Buckley said. “But there has been so much in the media just in the past couple of weeks and then last summer the situation with the state pool down in Fall River [where a woman drowned and wasn’t found for three days]. It’s a good opportunity for us to do some cross-training.”

Carey said part of the reason water emergencies are rare at Rosemary Pool is that there are so many well-trained lifeguards on duty.

“It’s things outside the water, like someone that takes insulin going into shock or a weird car accident in the parking lot. We’re pretty lucky that a number of our accidents are a scrape and a Band-Aid,” she said. “But we don’t want them to get complacent, because this is a great summer job until something bad happens. You carry that for the rest of your life.”

At Rosemary Pool, the message is safety first—then fun, Carey said.

“Sometimes people call us the ‘Rule Pool,’ but that’s OK, because it means their kids are being watched and the adults are being watched so that you can come and have fun and not have to worry,” she said.

Pending final preparations and water tests, Rosemary Pool is set to open for the 2012 season on Monday, June 18.

The pool will be open seven days per week, from 12:30-7:45 p.m. each day, through Aug. 24. In the case of thunder or lightning, the pool will close and will remain closed until one half hour after the last instance of thunder or lightning.

Daily admission for Needham residents is $6 per person or $3 for seniors age 60 and up; after 6 p.m., it’s $3/$1.50. For non-residents, admission is $8 per person or $3 for seniors, with an after-6 p.m. rate of $4/$1.50. Season passes are also available to residents and non-residents; learn more at needhamma.gov/parkandrecreation.


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