Jennersville >> Three Avon Grove seniors were honored Feb. 7 for saving the life of an elderly man at the Jennersville YMCA in December.
Penn Township officials issued a proclamation to Avon Grove High School seniors Long Tran, Josh Prosser and Sean Kushnerock, who are lifeguards at the Jennersville YMCA. The three sprung into action when a YMCA member suffered a cardiac arrest and, thanks to their lifeguard training from the YMCA, were able to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator machine to successfully help the member recover before emergency medical personnel took over.
With only half an hour left in their shift as lifeguards at the Jennersville YMCA, the three Avon Grove seniors keenly watched over everything going on in the pool, but also thought that their day was soon coming to a close.
Instead, it was just getting started. A code red alert echoed throughout the Y, alerting everybody of someone suffering from a life-threatening condition. The trio immediately evacuated the pools and took action.
“I grabbed the first-aid bag and Sean and I went to the wellness center [where the code red alert was],” Tran said. “When we got there, we saw a few people standing by the treadmills, and that’s where we saw a state trooper checking for a pulse on a member. He didn’t find one, and when I checked, I didn’t find one either.”
Tran and the trooper immediately began administering CPR. Three cycles yielded no results, neither did two more from Prosser and Kushnerock as Tran grabbed the automated external defibrillator. The AED and three more cycles of CPR did the trick long enough for emergency medical personnel to take over. Without the three boys’ help, it’s quite possible that the member wouldn’t be here today.
“He just needed help breathing,” Tran said. “I didn’t know how bad it was initially when we were first responding to it. I’ve been a lifeguard for almost two years, though, and I knew what I needed to be doing.”
The training that the three received and continue to undergo is what empowered them to save the man’s life. The Y’s commitment to safety doesn’t stop once new lifeguards are certified. Every month, they go through a two-hour in-service training with aquatic director Katie Doochack, where they’re put through a wealth of scenarios that help ensure that they’re ready for anything they might face.
“We try to cover every scenario we can and that helps a lot,” said Prosser, who became a lifeguard last May. “We knew what to do to help that member because we’ve done that scenario over and over again with Katie. It really gets us prepared.”
“All of that practice prepared me for pretty much anything that can happen,” added Tran. “We’ll work on stuff like this, doing CPR, helping someone who’s choking and first aid stuff, then we’ll do water rescues for an hour. I think Katie does a great job of giving us a lot of scenarios to get us ready for anything that we might see.”
“We are so proud of Long, Shaun and Josh—and all of our staff—for their ongoing commitment to safety,” said Denise Day, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. The Jennersville YMCA is one of eight branches in the Association. “With approximately 80,000 members, we recognize that emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, so we have a full-time staff member, our Senior Director of Safety & Risk Management, dedicated to preparing staff to respond through monthly drill scenarios across all department areas. By keeping our emergency response skills sharp, we all help to make the Y a safe place for our members and guests.”