'Lifeguards needed at private beaches'
To the Editor:
I hate to prolong a news item but I really need to say a few things in regard to the emergency response to the drowning on Candlewood Lake.
I have been an emergency service instructor in New Milford for 30 years.
Ms. Curtiss states New Milford should have a dive team available 24/7.
That's a great thought if you don't live in the real world.
Even if a dive team were being paid to sit at the police station with a vehicle ready to roll 24/7, you would still not save drowning victims.
The person is dead after four to six minutes with no oxygen. Even going lights/siren it would still take four to eight minutes to get to the scene, provided people pulled over and stopped as they are supposed to do, which most people don't.
Then they would have to put on their gear and then find the person.
Using Ms. Curtiss' logic, we should have a police officer and a ambulance on every street corner.
Its just not practical, accidents happen and people die before the best emergency responders can get there.
Secondly, the fire chief was absolutely right. We do not go into emergency situations until we are prepared because we do not need additional victims.
We had one person go under already. What if both of those bystanders had also gone under for some reason. Would you still expect emergency responders to jump in?
We tell emergency responders in training that dead heroes can't save lives. In other words, don't put yourself in jeopardy until you are prepared.
The one thing that had a chance of saving this person I have not seen mentioned -- a lifeguard.
Why don't these beaches have trained lifeguards on duty?
They are the only ones with the proper training to be able to get to a drowning victim in time and possibly keep him or her alive until an ambulance gets there.
I believe these beaches are private beaches. Why can't the residents who use them put their money together and pay a lifeguard?
I believe Lynn Deming Park has lifeguards because New Milford ambulance used to cross-train them. Why don't the private beaches have them?
Thank you for letting me get some facts out there.
By the way, I think both our ambulance and our fire departments are always looking for volunteers. It's the most rewarding job you will ever do for free.