“I happened to be at that chair and right when I looked over John had the kid in his arms, and I was like, ‘okay, let’s go’.” SEFAC lifeguard Jaklyn Nesset.

On Tuesday, July 10, the lifeguards at the Sleepy Eye Family Aquatic Center, started the afternoon with an in-service, from assistant manager Kalyn Haas, on emergency procedures, before opening for the day. They grumbled a little said Haas. But it turned out they were very glad they had the tune-up.

Just over a half hour into their afternoon, a young boy, second grade age, was pulled from the bottom of the pool. The lifeguards sprang into action, with guard Jaclyn Nesset starting CPR. Aquatic Center manager, Abeni Docter, said the staff reacted well, “I feel like everybody did what they needed to do, somebody got me right away, they got the other kids out of the water and away from that area.”

Nesset told what happened last Tuesday when she was guarding by the basketball hoop—where kids were swimming and playing and she was scanning the pool. “I happened to be at that chair and right when I looked over, John [Baures, a young teen who was swimming there] had the kid in his arms, and I was like, ‘okay, let’s go’.”

Nesset said she did CPR for about two minutes before the Sleepy Eye Ambulance Service arrived to take over. “I looked up and the gate was opened and they were coming through,” she said. “Getting the key and opening the gate is another task one of the guards did as trained,” said Docter.

There were also two nurses—an RN and an emergency nurse—visiting SEFAC that day and both came to assist Nesset, with one giving breaths on every 30 compressions Nesset performed.

While Nesset performed CPR on the boy, the other guards did crowd control—keeping kids calm, as some of the little ones were crying and scared.

Nesset said the boy was slightly responsive and moaning when the EMTs arrived, and they gave him oxygen to help him more. “Before they even got him out of the gate, he was screaming and asking what happened,” said Nesset—a good sound to hear—if he could scream, he was okay.

After the ambulance drove away, to take the boy to Sleepy Eye Medical Center for attention, Docter had the guards re-open the aquatic center and get the kids back to swimming and having fun.

“I felt, ‘we need to get everybody back to normal, as quickly as possible, so nobody freaks out—everbody stays calm’,” Docter said.

What about Nesset? Was she ready to get back on the job? Yes, she was.

“First I had to fill out an incident report and then I went right back out. I had a lot of adrenalin for a few hours,” Nesset said. “Then when it wore off, I thought, ‘I’m going to sleep good tonight’.”

Docter and Nesset think this was the first CPR incident at SEFAC. “Kalyn [Haas] has worked here for seven years,” said Nesset. “She didn’t think anything like this has happened before.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the community about how things were handled,” said Docter. “That’s always good to hear also.” Docter said the incident was an eye-opener for the staff—who are unlikely to complain about emergency training anytime soon, “They know, this stuff happens, and you really need to be ready.”

Docter said she thinks a conversation may have run through everbody’s head, asking, how would I actually have reacted? But Nesset, who wasn’t even at the pool for the earlier in-service, didn’t hesitate at all. “But there is a story to that,” she said.

“Back in October, my dad suffered cardiac arrest at work, but nobody found him for about 13 minutes and nobody on his shift knew what to do,” she explained. “One guy stepped up and gave him CPR, but too much time had passed and it took another 13 minutes for the ambulance to come—they had to shock his heart to bring him back.”

“After that, the hospital gave my mom and me a CPR dummy, and because I’d already taken CPR, I kind of taught her, so we would know what to do if it happened again,” said Nesset. “Then I had it [CPR] at school and here again.” Nesset was very well prepared to perform CPR.

“All I would say, since I was there managing that day, is that I'm very proud of my staff for handling the situation as efficiently and professionally as possible,” said Docter. “They did everything they needed to do and I'm thankful to have such a great staff at the pool. I would also like to acknowledge everyone else who stepped in that day to lend a hand; a life has been saved because of it and nothing is better than that.”