Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

East Lake firefighters promote pool safety after child nearly drowns

EAST LAKE — A 3-year-old girl and her dad, in town from New York on July 14 to visit her grandparents, were taking a dip in the community swimming pool.

Her father, however, got distracted and the girl sank to the bottom of the 5-foot-deep pool. She was underwater for almost 30 seconds, authorities said.

Her father pulled her from the pool, performed CPR and saved her life, according to East Lake Fire Rescue Chief Tom Jamison. The child's grandparents declined to talk with a reporter.

"Really, it was just a moment of inattentiveness," Jamison said.

The girl was conscious when emergency workers arrived, but faced complications soon after. She was taken by helicopter to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where she made a full recovery, Jamison said.

Still, the department wanted to use the accident as a teaching opportunity. So on Tuesday afternoon, East Lake firefighters passed out pool safety information in the Brooker Creek Townhomes/Villas neighborhood, where the girl nearly drowned.

The fire department partnered with the Safe Kids Coalition and Florida Safe Pools to provide the materials. Ten firefighters went door to door to nearly 55 homes. They spoke with residents and left a bag of pool safety information on doorsteps for people who weren't home.

The bags included emergency contact information, a directory of Pinellas County swim instructors and "water-watching badges" adults are encouraged to wear to designate the pool monitor when children are swimming.

The best way to prevent pool accidents is to make sure someone always has their eye on the water, said Karen Mcculley, head of the trauma unit at All Children's Hospital.

"I can't stop car accidents, I can't stop accidents (on the playground), but we can absolutely stop accidents in the pool," she said.

Joe Fuller, the paramedic at the scene of the near-drowning, served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years before joining East Lake Fire Rescue. While he has only responded to a handful of drowning calls since joining the department, he performed "a ton" of water rescues while in the Coast Guard.

"People always ask me, 'What's the best thing to do (to promote pool safety)?' And I say, 'Teach your kids how to swim.' That way they can at least get to the side of the pool," he said.

Pamela Peters, 66, has lived in the East Lake neighborhood since 2003. She recently retired as a teacher at Forest Lakes Elementary School in Oldsmar. She said she was glad to see firefighters meeting with residents.

"Even as a neighbor, it's a traumatizing thing. You always worry about children in the pool because it only takes a second for something to go wrong," she said.

Matt McKinney can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4156. Follow @Mmckinne17 on Twitter.

Comments

Baby, 11 months, dies in reported drowning at Brandon apartments’ pool

BRANDON — An 11-month-old girl’s parents said their daughter drowned in an apartment complex pond Monday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The infant and her parents were not publicly identified by the Sheriff’s Office. The paren...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

LAKE WALES — Police say two devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.According to the FBI, bomb technicians examining the contents of a backpack found at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales on Sund...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Something new for Gasparilla — your own private boat captain

Something new for Gasparilla — your own private boat captain

TAMPA — The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates may be this city’s most festive event, but law enforcement maintains its zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving, whether on land or on water.So if you plan on consuming alcohol at the parade, get home ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Clearwater police arrest man in taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

Clearwater police arrest man in taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

CLEARWATER — Police officers arrested a 38-year-old man they say robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint Monday morning near Crest Lake Park.According to Clearwater police, Samuel Eric Brown, of Clearwater, stole cash from a driver for United Cab, took th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police: Driver rear-ends school bus in Clearwater

Police: Driver rear-ends school bus in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A driver rear-ended Monday a school bus on the way to Safety Harbor Middle. None of the 38 students on board were hurt in the crash in the eastbound lanes of NE Coachman Road just west of U.S. 19, according to Clearwater police. Most boa...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the driver who seriously injured a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Dover on Monday morning.Deputies say the suspect was driving a Toyota Camry that is now missing part of its right front air dam afte...
Published: 01/22/18

Woman, 35, struck and killed while walking across SR 60 in Valrico

VALRICO — A 35-year-old Thonotosassa woman was struck and killed by a car while walking across State Road 60 west of Mount Carmel Road on Sunday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.Brandi Eckelstafer was walking south across SR 60 just after 8 p....
Published: 01/22/18

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Published: 01/21/18

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding driver on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three people early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montanez...
Published: 01/21/18
Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred e...
Published: 01/21/18