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Council talks about pool safety after near drowning

Marietta City Council reviewed policies and training surrounding pool safety Tuesday following last week’s near drowning at the Marietta Aquatic Center.

Mike Bishman, owner of Professional Pool Management– the company which the city contracts with to run the aquatic center and staff lifeguards and concessions– reported to council a clearer picture than early reports of that incident.

“We’re trained as lifeguards to perform the compressions and CPR but also trained that when someone present identifies their training is above ours, to let them take over,” said Bishman, informing council that a 16-year-old lifeguard had pulled the 5-year-old boy out of the pool and had begun compressions when a Parkersburg nurse ran over to help.

Bishman and Susan Joyce, public facilities office manager for the city, further outlined for council how lifeguards are placed around the pool and explained their jobs to not only watch children in the water, but be aware of runners around the pool, fights and the necessity of quick action.

“A grown adult takes 20 seconds between needing an active versus passive rescue,” explained Bishman. “That’s 20 seconds before they black out and aren’t calling for help, aren’t saying anything. You take a 5-year-old and you’re looking at five seconds.”

Joyce offered one suggestion for council to consider under policy change on the pool, upping the minimum age a supervisor of children must be, noting the child who nearly drowned was under the supervision of a teenage babysitter.

“Maybe council could also look at verbiage for additional signs,” said Councilwoman Cindy Oxender, saying she was looking into potential federal funds to pay for more signs or other safety needs at the water park. The signs could include pool rules and safety reminders.

Council also heard from Marietta Adventure Company co-owner Ryan Smith Tuesday. Smith had a request for the city to act as a fiscal pass-through for contracted upkeep in outdoor preparations for the Rivers, Trails and Ales festival this August.

Smith said he has raised funds over the years to allocate toward trail creation and maintenance and kept those funds at the Marietta Community Foundation.

“We’re willing to now supplement not only our volunteer help to clean up, but as the festival has grown, supplement paid help for the cleaning of the park,” he said. “My request is to donate $2,000.”

Assistant Safety-Service Director Bill Dauber asked Smith who would be in charge of overseeing the contracted work needed, which Smith said he would facilitate with specifics for the festival preparation.

Council will bring forward a resolution to consider accepting the donation next week.

Council will next meet today at 3 p.m. to discuss developing buffers within city zoning for commercial medical marijuana activities.

All council meetings unless otherwise scheduled take place in room 10 of the Armory, 241 Front St.

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