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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lifesavers Live Up To Their Name

Page Henley was swimming as he normally does in Seal Beach when a man in the lane next to him was floating motionless in the shallow end of the pool.

It was an unusual scene that caused Page to stop swimming.

"It looked like he was just trying to touch the wall, but he wasn't moving at all," recalled Henley who like many in the seaside beach community had done the Seal Beach Roughwater Swim.

Henley's sixth sense told him that something was wrong. "I went over and then just grabbed him. He was unconscious and I called for help."

Hunter Outlaw [shown above], a 17-year-old newly minted lifeguard on his first day on the job, heard a bunch of master swimmers calling out for help. "I was standing on one side of the pool and Alex, the other guard, heard the same thing: lifeguard!"

Henley and another swimmer in the pool were trying to pull the large 57-year-old man out of the pool. It helped that they were on the shallow end where they could stand, but they still needed help. The man's eyes were closed and it was clear something was terribly wrong.

Alex Cargill, a 21-year-old veteran lifeguard and student from Long Beach State, was about to make his first save - as did his colleague Outlaw.

"The swimmers had pulled the man halfway out of the pool and we pulled him out and placed him on the pool deck. Alex immediately started [CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation], compressions on his chest. I went to make a [911] emergency call and get the AED [automated external defibrillator]. Between Alex doing the chest compressions, I gave him breaths. We did about 10 rounds of CPR.

Then when the AED machine was ready, we strapped it to his chest. The machine did its job automatically. We backed off from the patient and his body jolted because of the shock. By this time, the paramedics had arrived, but they let us continue doing the CPR

"The young lifeguards were great. They obviously had great training and their work was textbook," observed Henley. "There was a group of swimmers around the man who remained unconscious and unresponsive, but one of the women had some experienced and she just encouraged the young men to continue what they were doing. There was no panic and they really saved the man."

"We started compressions on him within a minute," recalled Cargill.

"Then when Alex puts his hands back on the man's chest, he suddenly woke up and slapped his hand away," said Outlaw. "The paramedics then strapped him up on a gurney and took him to the hospital."

Henley had witnessed his first save. "Wow. When he came to, he understood what just happened and thanked the boys that they saved him. It was pretty emotional."

"I really didn't realize what had happened until I got off work and was driving home," smiled Outlaw, one of the young corp of humble, well-trained lifeguards who helps keeps people safe in pools, lakes and oceans around the world.

Orange County Fire Authority and the City of Seal Beach [California] Mock Drowning and Rescue from Orange County Fire Authority.

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