Leschenault Leisure Centre staff awarded for saving a patrons life

5 November 2019

Lifeguards perform extremely important work at aquatic centres across the state each and every day, ensuring swimmers stay safe while enjoying the water. Occasionally this also means saving the life of a swimmer who gets in trouble.

One such incident happened at the Leschenault Leisure Centre in October last year, when regular patron Ian Went suffered a heart attack in the water. Ian had just begun swimming laps when off-duty lifeguard Ryan Sanders, who was also swimming laps at the time, noticed that he was floating face down in the pool.

Leschenault Leisure Centre Manager Richard Duke says the lifeguards then swung into action. “One of the other lifeguards had been watching too and joined Ryan to check Ian’s condition. They found he was unconscious and unresponsive. They got hold of the other lifeguard and supervisor on deck, and between the three of them and a patron they got Ian out of the water. After ensuring an ambulance was called Lifeguard Kellie Holm performed CPR and the other team members put an AED on Ian. The AED administered four shocks before the emergency services came. He was then taken to hospital where he made a full recovery.”

The story is made even more amazing by the fact that Ian had actually donated the defibrillator that saved his life to the centre ten years earlier!

Mr Duke says the whole situation showed not only the skill of the lifeguard team involved, but the importance of the ongoing training provided to them. “As a team they were fantastic. There was six of them around and everything they did was spot on. They recognised Ian was in trouble, brought him to the edge, got him out of the pool and started immediately doing CPR. Kellie was pumping away furiously on him. All the guys, they got the oxygen, got the AED, kitted him up and then spent just over 12 minutes working on him before the ambulance arrived. They did everything they’re trained to do.”

Lifeguards Ryan Sanders, Samantha Hooper, David Snelling and Kellie Holm all received the Royal Life Saving Gold Star Bravery Award for their outstanding efforts to save Ian’s life, while Angie Stonard and Shelby Pinner received a Bravery Commendation.

An analysis of Mr Went’s pacemaker revealed that he had no heart activity for eight minutes, a stark reminder of the importance of prompt CPR and using an AED. The fact that he was able to go on and make a full recovery from his heart attack is a testament to the team effort from all staff involved.

If you know someone who’s used their first aid, CPR or rescue skills to save a life why not nominate them for a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award? You can find out more and complete the nomination form at the link below.

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