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June 14, 2013

Off-duty medic saves boy from drowning

The Sun

YUMA, Ariz. — A young boy who almost drowned in the Colorado River Sunday afternoon is still alive thanks to the quick actions of an off-duty paramedic with Rural/Metro.

According to the Yuma Fire Department, shortly before 5 p.m., a 5-year-old boy was found unresponsive and face down in the Colorado River near the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge.

Christy Rivera, an off duty Rural/Metro paramedic, was in the area and acted immediately. She assessed the child’s condition and began CPR. Due to Rivera’s actions, the child began to breathe and started crying.

"Paramedic Rivera’s quick action is to be commended," said Mike Erfert, YFD administrative fire officer.

"Often in these cases there are no second chances. We were fortunate Sunday that a trained paramedic was nearby, but everyone should learn CPR and be willing to step up and help."

Personnel with YFD arrived on scene a short time after the child had been revived and provided further treatment before transferring the boy to Yuma Regional Medical Center.

According to YFD, the child was being watched by a parent who had lost sight of the child for "just a few seconds."

"This is unfortunately a statement that emergency responders hear all too often," Erfert said.

According to Erfert, Arizona is consistently one of the states with the highest numbers of drowning cases.

As the temperatures increase with the approach of summer, many families go to pools or local waterways to cool off. This leads to an increased risk of drowning, so parents and guardians need to take precautions to ensure their children have a safe experience, Erfert said.

"Every year, the State of Arizona loses the equivalent of a classroom full of children. Children aged 4 and younger are at the greatest risk."

Already this year, a 3-year-old boy drowned in his family’s pool. Another child drowned in 2012, and two more drowned in 2011, according to the Yuma Sun archives.

To prevent further drownings, YFD urges parents and guardians to follow the "ABCs of drowning prevention."

"A" is for Adult supervision. If children are around water, they need constant, responsible, undistracted, adult supervision. Designate a "Water Watcher" whose only responsibility is to watch the children. If that person has to leave the area, someone else takes over or everyone leaves the pool area or waterway with them.

"B" is for Barrier fencing. Every pool should be enclosed by a barrier fence at least 4 feet high. It should have a self closing, self latching gate. Pool toys should not be left in the pool, they attract children, and furniture should not be near the exterior fence where it can be used to crawl over. Pool alarms are also added security.

"C" is for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Learn how to perform CPR in the event the unthinkable does happen.

In addition, teach kids to swim. The city of Yuma’s Parks and Recreation offers swim classes during the summer months.

Copyright 2013 The Sun

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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