Orem lifeguard honored for deep water rescue

2013-08-01T00:30:00Z 2013-10-03T12:54:53Z Orem lifeguard honored for deep water rescueGenelle Pugmire - Daily Herald Daily Herald
August 01, 2013 12:30 am  • 

OREM -- Eric Brown is a pretty level-headed kid, according to his supervisor Chad Barth. His job preparedness and training was flawless. The paramedics said he did everything right. Brown had only been on the job two weeks as a lifeguard at the Orem Rec Center pools. It was that day he saved his first life. The deep water rescue was the first of its kind at the center, or at any Orem city pool, in more than a decade.

On Tuesday the Orem City Council honored Brown for his quick thinking and bravery.

"Eric certified as a lifeguard in February or March. He has a few siblings that have been lifeguards so we didn't have a problem hiring him," Barth said.

This particular rescue was a difficult one, Barth noted. "I've been working here 10 to 11 years and this is the first time having to bring some one up from the bottom of the pool," he said.

June 13 was a pretty busy day at the rec center pool. Among the patrons were several members of a group home for people with disabilities. According to Barth, one young man wandered away from the group unnoticed and ended up at the deep end of the pool.

"I was sitting up on the chair and looked down," Brown said. "At first I thought he was just sitting on the bottom and would come up. After about 10 seconds I noticed he wasn't doing anything, and I saw bubbles coming out of his mouth. He was moving his arms a little."

Brown continues, "I don't remember much, the adrenaline kept me going."

Brown dove in and pulled the young man to the surface. What made it harder was that he was about twice the size of Brown, and he was having a seizure.

"When I got him to the surface they pulled him out, he started coughing when he got to the surface," Brown said. "It was really scary, but afterward I was so happy I had gotten him out."

Brown said it was additionally difficult because he was straight down from under the chair and the lifeguards have to crane their necks to see the situation going on in that part of the pool.

"He was probably under between 30 to 45 seconds," Brown said.

That isn't necessarily a long time, but if you are in a seizure it changes the level of emergency.

Brown's mother, Karen Brown, said, "We were surprised and shocked when he came home and said he had saved someone. He had insight and good training and I commend the staff for that."

Karen Brown said that Eric's two sisters, Heather and Catie Brown, have both been involved with rescues, but not deep water rescue.

"We are so happy he was able to save somebody," Karen Brown said. "He's a great boy."

-- Genelle Pugmire covers Provo City, Provo School District, Orem City, UDOT’s I-15 CORE Project. She also tackles variety of other topics including business features.
Read more from Genelle Pugmire here.

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