Public Safety, Disaster Services
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
We share Drennen's story with lifeguards and pool managers to educate them on the importance of their jobs. Goal: vigilance, in-service training, equipment training, comprehensive policies and procedures that are followed diligently leading to patron safety.
A presentation to lifeguards would start with a story about Drennen O'Melia, who was a phenomenal swimmer, and had won all his races and qualified for an All-Stars the day before he drowned. We ask the lifeguards "As a lifeguard, would you worry about this swimmer?" Then we explain what went wrong that day: 1) There was an inadequate number of lifeguards; 2) there was an inadequate response--and Drennen was underwater for at least 5 and probably closer to 10 minutes; 3) there was inadequate equipment; and overall, 4) there was inadequate training. We end the talk with what they can do as a lifeguard in a situation. We invite people to participate in the Drennen's Dreams 5K as a runner, volunteer, or a sponsor.
Lifeguards improve their vigilance when they are on duty. From Aquatics Supervisor Bradie Allen: "After 31 years of lifeguarding, 27 years as a lifeguard instructor and almost as many as an instructor trainer I can safely say I've never had the opportunity to hear the first hand account of such a tragedy as the O'Melias faced, in the format in which it was delivered. ... Through years of working with the NDPA, one is exposed to many families who've had similar experiences ... No (presentations) are organized in such a fashion so as to make the impact the Foundation does with Drennen's story. ... Personally, I felt/feel like our 'tool kit' of techniques and skills is far more complete because we have Bill and the Foundation to enhance our program."