For Larry Conner, the president of Stone Creek Club and Spa in Louisiana, having set systems and processes is vital to not only a club’s success, but also member and staff safety.
A few weeks ago, this was put to the test during a “Code Blue” medical emergency — and ultimately saved a life.
In June, member Joe Thompson was found unresponsive on the bottom of the lap pool. He had been down for around 1.5 minutes when he was pulled out by Stone Creek’s lifeguards.
According to Conner, Stone Creek’s emergency protocols and procedures were immediately put into action.
“When a Code Blue is called here at the club — this is for a medical emergency where everyone is needed, such as an unresponsive person who needs CPR or profuse bleeding — the first person on the scene picks up a house phone and dials 0,” explained Conner. “This goes to the front desk. They then tell the front desk that there is a Code Blue and the location.”
The front desk notifies staff via radio and the loudspeakers that there is a Code Blue and the location, and then immediately calls 911. All employees who heard the Code Blue announcement report to the scene except for at least one employee at the front desk, at least two employees in childcare, and any others who by leaving causes a safety issue.
“If anyone wants to help and is an emergency responder or medical professional, their help is allowed and welcomed,” added Conner. “We still manage the scene and care given until paramedics arrive.”
A manager on scene will then make sure proper first aid is given to the victim. “One example why this is needed: When I arrived in this case, [staff] had [Thompson] out of the pool and were drying him to hook up the AED,” explained Conner. “The only problem was that his feet were still touching the pool. They may not have caught this. It’s very important to have someone overseeing to watch the details and direct aid if you have enough people to do this.”
While aid is being administered, other employees clear the scene of onlookers to ensure staff aren’t distracted and that they can clearly communicate.
In addition, an employee is sent to the parking lot to wait for emergency responders, so they can guide them to the area the quickest way possible. If indoor access by emergency responders is needed, employees will make sure all areas are clear of people and remove any other obstacles in order to get responders through quickly. If outside access is quickest, gates are opened and access is cleared.
According to Conner, another employee is used to interview witnesses and responders to gather relevant information to give to emergency responders. “The emergency responders will need this information for their response and to also inform medical personnel at the hospital,” he explained. “Relevant info, such as did they fall and hit their head or back, how long were they underwater, were shocks needed by AED, was CPR given, [should be gathered].”
In addition, data on the member or guest is gathered to give to emergency responders, including age, any medical information known which may be relevant, emergency contact and any other important details.
Once emergency responders arrive, all extra employees not needed are sent back to their work areas. “Confidentiality is stressed and all employees are trained to just say to inquiring people that there is a medical emergency which the staff is responding to,” said Conner. “Never give out the person’s name. Always give out one name and phone number to emergency responders who can speak with the hospital if needed.”
According to Conner, all of Stone Creek’s staff go through emergency training annually for a Code Blue, Code Adam (abducted child), and Code Red (shooter or someone harming people on site). They also train for other medical injuries, bomb threats, security issues, extreme weather, loss of power and safe chemical handling.
“In all of our departments we have red binders where the latest emergency training manual is located for the club, plus a cheat sheet — an emergency manual for that particular department along with evacuation routes,” said Conner. “All of our team is trained in CPR/AED and all of our managers are trained in first aid.”
In Thompson’s case, these procedures were vital to the positive outcome. “We had to do CPR on him and this happened during a very busy part of our day, with many people swimming,” said Conner. “So immediately, our system was put into motion and saved a life. Without this system, it could have been a different story.”
And Thompson is extremely grateful, recently visiting the club with the Mayor to thank Stone Creek’s staff and emergency responders. “Joe called me and wanted to come by to the club and thank everyone who saved his life,” said Conner. “He wanted to shake everyone’s hands because he said they are all heroes. It was a pretty touching moment. He wanted us to share his story with everyone.”