Henderson first responders practice water rescue training

Henderson lifeguards Thoren Kaufusi, McKenna Cooley and Ezekial Nellis practice rescue efforts ...

Nine-year-old Haiden Law was swimming in the city of Henderson’s Whitney Ranch pool on Friday morning when he suddenly stopped and started to float.

The child was following directions, simulating a young swimmer struggling to stay alive. As part of a comprehensive training drill, Henderson lifeguards pulled Law from the pool and commenced life-saving efforts. Henderson Fire Department firefighters then arrived and took over.

Practice, practice, then practice again. Sean Friedland, medical services officer with the Henderson Fire Department, said the repeated training for first responders, along with parents practicing the three Ps of child drowning prevention — Patrol, Protect and Prepare — can help save a child’s life this summer swimming season.

“Patrol,” Friedland said. “You want to have an adult or family member watching kids around a body of water or pool at all times. Protect. We want to protect them by setting up defensive barriers around the pool or maybe alarms which lets parents know when kids are out. We also want to prepare. You want to make sure your kids have swim lessons and training, and the parents also have some CPR knowledge and education to help save a kid if necessary.”

The nonprofit Stop Drowning Now said 3,500 people will drown this year in the United States. Children are particularly vulnerable, with drowning the top accidental cause of death for youths ages 1 to 4.

Henderson Lifeguard Thoren Kaufusi said he was proud to participate in the training. He said when kids are around water, everyone “should always be alert and you should always be prepared” for an emergency.

Law’s father, Landon, is a Las Vegas police sergeant. He said he and his son participated in the drill Friday with the goal of helping others. If first responders can keep one kid from drowning this summer, all the practice and public communications about drowning prevention tips for parents will be worth it, he said.

“There are too many drownings in Las Vegas and we want to be able to support the first responders who need to address these situations,” Landon Law said.

City of Henderson spokeswoman Madeleine Skains said city firefighters offers a program called First Six, which offers lifesaver training. Classes are designed for those 12 and older. Anyone interested can sign up for the free class at the city of Henderson website.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.