No Breast-feeding in the Ann
Arbor YMCA public pool. Did you know,
in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the YMCA says you cannot brest-feed your baby
in the swimming pool area because it violates
a "no food and drink'' rule. YMCA said all food
and drink is forbidden in the pool area, and that exceptions can't be
made for breast-feeding. See Ann Arbor News story near bottom of page
Swimming in a public pool?
Your lifeguards might not be qualified to save you.
Operating a public swimming pool is expensive. Although you depend
on lifeguards for your care, support and survival, to save money, some
public swimming pool operators are hiring unqualified, non-certified
lifeguards which increases your risk of injury or death. Some of the
accidental related drowning fatalities featured on this water safety
web site may have been prevented by simply hiring lifeguards with up-to-date
certifications in rescue training in critical skills like CPR as required
by Michigan Public Health code Act 368
of 1978 administrative rules. As detailed as contributory factors to
fatal child drownings in public swimming pools on this web site, we
also recommend hiring lifeguards who do not have their
leg in a removable splint while using crutches or hiring lifeguards
that do not require a wheelchair for stability to keep from slipping
on a wet pool deck. Imagine going to your local hospital with
an emergency. Then, while you're in the emergency room, you learn 50%
of the doctors and hospital staff are not qualified because their certifications
to practice medicine had expired or were bogus. You might be concerned.
Did you know that bogus educational degrees and certifications are
available for purchase according to a report
published in the Spokesman-Review on July 30, 2008. They report
that "hundreds of people working in the military, government and
education are on a list of almost 10,000 people who spent $7.3 million
buying phony and counterfeit high school and college degrees from a
Spokane diploma mill." You may be betting your life that posted
lifeguard credentials are simply counterfeit photocopies of some other
persons credentials. Before swimming in a public pool, we recommend
inspecting for posted original lifeguard certification training documents.
If a public swimming pool will only display a photocopy of the front
side of the document, it may be forged.
In Livonia, Michigan, on August
3, 1996, 50% of the lifeguards were not qualified under Michigan
Public Health code to be lifeguards because their required certifications
had expired. A 15-year old boy drowned.
In Livonia, Michigan, it seemed odd that four lifeguards could not prevent
a public swimming pool drowning on August 3, 1996. Through the Michigan
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 1976 PA 442, MCLA 15.231 et. seq.,
we ordered documents needed to research these incidents. During the
City of Livonia, swimming pool fatality investigation, we received many
censored documents from the City of Livonia. After receiving these censored
documents such as press releases from the City of Livonia, additional
requests under the FOIA were necessary. As time and funding permits,
additional information regarding public swimming pool drownings are
added to this web site.
Michigan according to the Jackson
Citizen Patriot, on March 26, 2004, 19-year old Kyle Fraser from
Munith Michigan, drowned at the high school public swimming pool at
Mason High School. He was a student
at the Heartwood School a school in the Ingham County Intermediate School
District for students with severe physical and cognitive handicaps.
Fraser was practicing to compete in the Special Olympics next month
as Holt (Michigan) High School. For more information on the Mason High
School drowning, click
here and here.
In Beecher, Michigan according to the Flint
Journal, on February 24, 2003, 18-year old Carmon T (Mullins) McLaurin
drowned at the high school public swimming pool at the Beecher
Community School District.
In Ypsilanti, Michigan on January 31, 2003, a 17-year old Detroit Finney
High School student, Derrick Kelly drowned during a lock-in party in
12 feet of water at the Olds-Robb
Recreation/Intramural complex at Eastern
Michigan University at 10:43 PM. For a map of the campus, click
here. The Jones
swimming pool is 3-1/2 to 18 feet deep. Three on-duty lifeguards,
using CPR could not revive Kelly. Documents regarding this drowning
were requested from Eastern Michigan University after an e-mail was
received from the identical twin brother of the drowning victim. Eastern
Michigan University requested a payment to pay for their cost of labor
up to $27.01 per hour to retrieve 130 pages of documents before the
University would release any information under the Michigan Freedom
of Information Act regarding this drowning. We requested a fee waiver
because we believe our FOIA request is in the public interest. Our FOIA
request could help to prevent another fatal drowning in the Eastern
Michigan University public swimming pools. Apparently helping to prevent
future drownings in the Eastern Michigan University swimming pools are
not in the public interest. Lisa Nardell, Legal Assistant stated "Please
be advised that EMU is denying your request to waive the $117.36 fee.
EMU has determined that a fee waiver is not in the public interest."
Here are some concerns we have regarding this drowning:
Item 1 of our FOIA request dated April 9, 2003 requested "One
copy of the Eastern Michigan University, Jones public swimming pool
operational data and information about rescues, submersions and accidents
given medical attention for the period of January 1, 2003 through April
9, 2003 as required by Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)
administrative rule 325.2199."
Fatal Problem #1: Eastern
Michigan University is not hiring qualified lifeguards as required by
State of Michigan MDCH administrative rule 325.2198(b). In our FOIA
(Freedom of Information Act) request dated April 9, 2003, item 27 asked
for one copy of the job posting for the job title of lifeguard or equivalent
at any Eastern Michigan University public swimming pool. The University
job description states "Job skills/requirements: Lifeguard certification
required. Basic Lifeguard certification required
or willingness and ability to become certified."
Accordingly, a person who never enrolled in a course of instruction
for lifeguard certification may be hired by Eastern Michigan because
they have simply have the desire or willingness and ability to become
certified. In the job description Eastern Michigan University does not
mandate any training in CPR, AED, bag valve mask, training in 2-person
and resuscitation barriers as required by the State of Michigan. The
State of Michigan also requires lifeguards to have a certificate indicating
valid and current evidence of successful completion of a recognized
course of instruction in adult, child, and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation
with training in 2-person and resuscitation barriers of the type offered
by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or the National
Safety Council as required by MDCH administrative rule 325.2198(b).
Fatal Problem #2: Eastern
Michigan University hired student lifeguard Scott Edward Stanisky. In
EMU's response dated May 2, 2003 to our FOIA, the University promised
to give us "one copy of the front and back side of the certificate
indicating valid and current evidence of successful completion of a
recognized course of instruction in adult, child, and infant cardiopulmonary
resuscitation with training in 2-person
and resuscitation barriers of the type offered by the
American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or the National Safety
Council for all people acting as lifeguards as required by MDCH administrative
rule 325.2198(b) who responded to the drowning death of Derrick Kelly
on January 31, 2003." The University however gave us only the front
side of an American Red Cross CPR certificate for Scott Stanisky for
the non-professional "Adult, Child, Infant CPR". The
CPR credentials supplied by Eastern Michigan University for student
lifeguard Scott Edward Stanisky are not the correct certification required
by MDCH administrative rule 325.2198(b). This
might explain why student lifeguard Scott Edward Stanisky could not
correctly spell "CPR" in his report to the police 30 minutes
after the drowning. Stanisky wrote, "I saw the swimmer on the bottom
of the pool around 10:40 pm. Called for my other lifeguards for help
got into the pool help with the getting the swimmer out of the pool.
Once the swimmer was out Jenny started pumping the water out of his
body kept up until the police showed up then they took over. We did
CRP but there was to much water in him for air to get into his lung.
As Jenny was pumping the swimmer was foaming at the mouth and blood
was also coming out. We kept try to get the water out until the police
Fatal Problem #3: Item
5 of our FOIA requests "One copy of any lifesaving and/or lifeguarding
in-service training and workshop attendance records for all lifeguards
on-duty at the Eastern Michigan University, Jones public swimming pool
during the drowning death of Derrick Kelly for the period of January
1, 2000 to April 9, 2003." Eastern Michigan University is unable
or refuses to provide any record of in-service training or workshop
attendance records for the lifeguards for the last three years. Perhaps
this is why all three on-duty lifeguards forgot to remove the victims
heels from the swimming pool which may have caused the Automated External
Defibrillator (AED) to not correctly analyze the victim and give lifesaving
cardiac defibrillation. There is no record
of lifeguard in-service training at Eastern Michigan University for
over three years.
As Eastern Michigan University wanted $117.36 to release this information,
we informed EMU that the information requested will be used to help
prevent another fatal drowning in Michigan public swimming pools and
to improve swimming pool safety. EMU was also informed that information
we have previously published regarding other Michigan public swimming
pool drownings, like at EMU, are available on-line at http://www.usascan.com/water/.
The FOIA request sent to EMU was due to correspondence we received from
the identical twin brother of Derrick Kelly who drowned in the Eastern
Michigan University swimming pool.
From: D Redmond [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 12:17 AM
Cc: D Redmond
Subject: Information Request!
Dear Mr. Ken Ascher,
I am the identical twin brother of Derrick Kelly, the young man that
drowned at Eastern Michigan University during a lock-in trip from Finney
High School on January 31, 2003 at 10:45 pm. He is profiled on the Water
Safety Home Page Web Site. My brother didn't know how to swim. Why didn't
the University asked the students if "they could swim" or
not"? Also, why weren't the three on-duty lifeguards unable to
revive my brother if they knew CPR or any other life saving strategies.
I'm under the biggest impression that those three "on-duty"
lifeguards didn't know CPR and were not qualified to serve in that capacity.
I would greatly appreciate if you would do more investigation relevant
to this story, by examining the creditability of lifeguards at Eastern
Michigan University or lifeguards in that particular area. Your help
and expertise will be greatly helpful. Thank You!
Darren R. Kelly
As provided for in Section 4(1) of the Michigan FOIA, “…A
search for a public record may be conducted or copies of public records
may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the public
body determines that a waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public
interest because search for or furnishing copies of the public record
can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.”
Lisa Nardell, Legal Assistant for EMU wrote, "please be advised
that EMU is denying your request to waive the $117.36 fee because EMU
has determined that a fee waiver is not in the public interest. As EMU
believes that preventing future drownings and accidents in their swimming
pools is not in the public interest, it is essential that the pool patrons
know that they are in danger when unqualified rescue personnel are lifeguarding
in violation of Michigan Department of Community Health regulations.
Lack of in-service training and hiring qualified staff is usually due
to a funding issue. However on May 13, 2003, an investigation by WJBK-TV
reporter Amy Lange stated that Eastern Michigan University is spending
3.5 Million dollars to build a multi-million dollar mansion called "University
House" as a home for the University President. We recommend funding
is found so only lifeguards with state required credentials are hired
and lifeguard in-service training classes are offered to rescue personnel.
We also find it unusual that Eastern Michigan University takes the position
that protecting children, who use the EMU public swimming pools from
death and/or accidents would not be in the public interest.
On December 2, 2003, Ann Arbor News
Staff Reporter Ms. Janet Miller reports the
EMU president's house cost more than disclosed. An additional $1.6 million
was charged to other accounts according to Eastern Michigan University
records. This brings to presidential mansion to at least $5,100,000.00.
here for the Ann Arbor News story.
On February 29 through March 2, 2004, WXYZ
TV reporter Mr. Steve Wilson states the Eastern Michigan University
presidential mansion costs were really between five and six million
dollars. It appears the University was trying to obfuscate the real
cost. Maybe essential money which could have been used for hiring qualified
lifeguards, in-service lifeguard training, fixing the emergency telephone
or providing employees with required blood-borne
pathogen protection training was instead used to purchase more upscale
amenities for the presidential mansion. As Mr. Wilson reports, "And
so they have built a 10,200 square foot mansion that occupies eight
acres, 25% more than an entire city block. As we’ve been reporting
this week, much of the cost was buried in other university accounts.
Not even the $403,000 cost of the land the university bought to build
it upon is figured into the cost the university claims. Most agree the
total price tag lies somewhere between 5 and 6 million dollars—on
a campus that can’t afford to renovate two classroom buildings
and keep all its student housing in good repair." For
more information on the WXYZ investigation on the Eastern Michigan University
spending, click here and also click
here for access to the WXYZ video. At the March, 2004 meeting of
the Board of Regents at Eastern Michigan University, the Regents did
not want to address any comments made by the public regarding expenditures
for the University house. To read the March 17, 2004 Ann Arbor News
story on the EMU Board of Regents silence, click
here. On March 20, 2004, the Ann Arbor News reports that
State of Michigan Senator Shirley Johnson, R-Royal Oak was irritated
by spending on the EMU University House. She wants colleges to give
detailed reports on student housing and presidents' houses. For this
here. For a response from University President Kirkpatrick printed
in the March 29, 2004 Eastern Echo, click
Perhaps a fatal
drowning could have been prevented in one of the Eastern Michigan University
public swimming pools if only the University had allocated and spent
money for hiring certified lifeguards with valid CPR training, provided
a continuing program of in-service lifeguard training and kept essential
swimming pool equipment like emergency telephones in functional operating
condition. As reported by local newspaper and television stations, money
from different university accounts has been ostensibly squandered to
build and purchase a 5 to 6 million dollar presidential residence. We
wonder why no funds were used in over three years before the January
31, 2003 fatal child drowning for in-service lifeguard training or for
making sure that all lifeguards who were employed can meet all State
of Michigan minimum requirements. Hiring incompetent and non-credentialed
lifeguards for swimming pool employees can be lethal. If Eastern Michigan
University continues to give a higher priority to building and maintaining
an opulent presidential residence or any other building project rather
than to hire trained, responsible, in-service tested and properly certified
lifeguard staff for their public swimming pools or fix their out-of-service
emergency telephones, another fatal child drowning death or future bloodborne
contamination incident with deleterious pathogenesis (hepatitis
B virus, hepatitis C virus, or HIV) to
their lifeguard staff may soon occur.
On January 31, 2004, the Ann Arbor News reports,
Fieger client files suit in drowning at EMU. A well-known
Southfield attorney has sued the city of Detroit, three Eastern Michigan
University lifeguards and their supervisor over the drowning death of
a Detroit teenager on January 31, 2003.
Geoffrey Fieger and Todd Weglarz, another attorney from Fieger's firm,
are representing the family of Derrick Kelly, 17, who drowned in a pool
at EMU's Recreation/Intramural building on Jan. 31, 2003, while on a
field trip with about 60 other Detroit high school students.
The lawsuit, filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court on January 15,
2004 seeks more than $25,000 in damages. The lawsuit does not list EMU
as a defendant. EMU Legal Counsel Kenneth A. McKanders said it is the
university's policy not to comment on lawsuits.
The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the lifeguards and a
Rec/IM administrator and breach of contract against the city's human
services department, which organized but did not "properly supervise"
or "arrange for proper supervision" of the field trip.
The lawsuit also alleges that the lifeguards did not determine the
swimming skill level of the students, including Kelly, before allowing
them to go into the pool and did not stop the poor swimmers and nonswimmers
from using the deep end of the pool.
According to the lawsuit, Kelly was swimming in the deep end of the
pool when he descended to the bottom. The lawsuit said students called
the lifeguards and helped pull Kelly from the pool, but the lifeguards
failed to use life-saving equipment and their CPR attempts were unsuccessful.
For a copy of the story details, click
Fatal Problem #4: We
received a unsigned censored accident
report dated April 10, 2003 at 10:30 AM which states a (censored) 19
year old female was in the public swimming pool when she felt a seizure
coming on. This report states "Emergency
phone in the (Eastern Michigan University public swimming) club pool
DOES NOT work!" This could help
explain why the 9-1-1 voice logging recordings of the January 31, 2003
Derrick Kelly drowning had the lifeguard contact the building reception
desk with an obscure message that a person was "down". The
reception desk then called the Eastern Michigan University Police. EMU
police then called Ypsilanti Fire Department and Huron Valley Ambulance
and asked for an ambulance to respond. There was no direct call from
the public swimming pool to emergency services wasting critical time
needed to assist a person who had no pulse. Eastern Michigan
University has intentionally censored the victim name, address, telephone
number, name of the witness, telephone number of the witness. The information
in this accident report states that a female "EMU faculty instructor"
was the witness on this report but refuses to release the real name
of the accident witness who reported the emergency phone does not work.
We believe unsigned accident reports might be covering up what really
happened. We request the University provide us with a properly filled
out accident report and correct the emergency phone issue in the public
Fatal Problem #5: Student
Lifeguard Jennifer Gail Navalta writes in her signed statement dated
January 31, 2003 at 11:24 PM that she "gave a breath and it did
not go in. I then did abdominal thrusts and tried again. I continued
this ruteen (sic) until more qualified people came on to the scene."
Lifeguards are trained when air does not go into a victim to simply
retip the head and attempt another rescue breath. This lifeguard ignored
their training and did abdominal thrusts. According to the police incident
report #03-000649, "as they approached the victim they observed
NAVALTA (one of the on-duty lifeguards) straddling the legs of the victim
and was administering abdominal thrusts, in an apparent attempt to relieve
water from the victim's lungs. It was also noticed that an AED (Automatic
External Defibrillator) was connected to the victim. As NAVALTA continued
to administer abdominal thrusts, SGT. LANCASTER attempted to get a carotid
pulse from the victim with nil results. At this time, the AED advised
responders to not touch the victim as it was analyzing. During
this time it was noticed that the victim's heels were still in the pool.
Officers pulled the victim completely from the pool,
and listened for further information from the AED. The AED again advised
responders to not touch the victim as it was analyzing. Shortly thereafter,
the AED instructed the responders to administer a shock to the victim.
SGT. LANCASTER administered the shock. AED's may not able to work correctly
and when the lifeguards forget to remove the victim from a swimming
pool. This might explain why the AED did not shock the victim until
Sergeant Lancaster removed the heels of the victim from the swimming
Fatal Problem #6: Student
Lifeguard Jayme Marie Travis reports, "Jenni started checking for
breathing and began compressions. I ran and got the AED (Automatic External
Defibrillator). We hooked the AED up and then it instructed us to continue
with CPR. We continued this until DPS (Department of Public Safety)
arrived and took over." What this lifeguard report has omitted
was the three lifeguards forgot their training and did not remove the
victim entirely from the public swimming pool. The
AED might not work correctly because the victim had his heels in the
swimming pool causing the AED not to analyze a deadly heart rhythm.
Fatal Problem #7: Student
Lifeguard Scott Stanisky writes at 11:24 PM on January 31, 2003, "Once
the swimmer was out Jenny started pumping the water out of his body
kept up until the police showed up then they took over. We did CRP (sic)
but there was to much water in him for air to get into his lung. As
Jenny was pumping the swimmer was foaming at the mouth and blood was
also coming out. We kept trying to get the water out until the police
took over." We believe the three
lifeguards neglected to give rescue breathing and instead wasted essential
rescue time trying to remove water from the victim.
Fatal Problem #8: Student
Lifeguard Jennifer Gail Navalta in a supplemental report dated February
3, 2003 states "I found him unconscious and tried to pull him up
without the Rescue Tube. I couldn't get him to the surface, but immediately
I took the Rescue Tube and went back down to retrieve the victim."
Lifeguards are trained to retrieve an unconscious submerged victim without
the need for a rescue tube." Valuable
seconds may have been wasted getting a rescue tube. As no lifeguard
in-service training was documented over the last three years, lifeguards
had no knowledge they may have lacked the personal skill needed to rescue
a submerged victim.
Fatal Problem #9: There
was no in-service training on the Survivalink AED serial
#820630 purchased October 19, 2001 on invoice #044431.
Fatal Problem #10: There
was no daily maintenance check on the Survivalink AED
serial #820630 purchased October 19, 2001 on invoice #044431
Fatal Problem #11: Item
14 of our FOIA asks for "one copy of any written blood borne pathogens
protection standards issued to lifeguards designed to protect employees
from disease transmission." Eastern Michigan University does not
have this document as required under Federal
Occupational Safety & Health Administration Bloodborne pathogens.
- 1910.1030 As Eastern Michigan University did not have the required
blood borne pathogen exposure protection procedures in place as there
is no documentation, this could be the proximate cause a lifeguard was
exposed to infectious blood borne pathogens.
Fatal Problem #12: Student
Lifeguard Jennifer Gail Navalta in this same supplemental report dated
February 3, 2003 states "I proceeded to give the victim rescue
breaths, the breaths did not go in. The reason being was because the
male's jaw was locked shut and his tongue was swollen and stuck to the
roof of his mouth. When I unlocked his jaw and moved his tongue I gave
another rescue breath. As soon as I backed away to check his pulse,
bloody foam came pouring from his nose and mouth. I then proceeded to
do abdominal thrusts to remove the bloody foam, and then rescue breathing
after the thrusts. After a couple sets of abdominal thrusts and rescue
breathing, Akbar (Akbar Ghous - Supervisor) attached an AED to the male's
chest. I then followed the instructions of the AED which told me to
do chest compressions and rescue breathing. I did CPR for about 3 minutes
until the police officers came and took over. Meanwhile the deck and
pool had been cleared of all patrons. The police officers took over
and asked for a breathing mask, I then retrieved one for them and they
began to perform CPR; the male's jaw was locked into position again
and still foaming blood from the nose and mouth when EMS finally arrived
and took over for the police officers."
Fatal Problem #13: Student
Lifeguard Jennifer Gail Navalta states in EMU accident report dated
January 31, 2003 at 10:42 PM Eastern Time that there was visible blood
or bodily fluids but this student lifeguard
did not follow appropriate blood borne pathogen exposure control procedures.
This student lifeguard also states she did not use appropriate personal
protective equipment (PPE). This student lifeguard also states she was
exposed to blood borne pathogens. When administering
CPR, gloves and mask should always be used as trained in a lifeguard
course. Student lifeguard Navalta was exposed to infectious blood borne
pathogens because she did not remember to use required personal protective
Fatal Problem #14: Eastern
Michigan University requires all lifeguards to be students. This student
requirement reduces the number of qualified lifeguard applicants available
to the University, potentially resulting in hiring lower quality lifeguards
from the applicant pool. We recommend a review of this employment policy.
Fatal Problem #15: After
a fatal drowning incident, Eastern Michigan University did not do or
did not release any records of drug and alcohol screening tests for
all on-duty lifeguards. Accordingly, there is no way to determine if
any of the on-duty lifeguards at this fatal child drowning were under
the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty. As lifeguards are in
a "safety sensitive" job, we recommend all lifeguards hired
are subject to preemployment,
reasonable suspicion, post-accident, random, promotion and transfer,
to duty and follow-up drug and alcohol testing.
Detroit Finney High School was in the news in 1999 due to $30,241.32
of missing funds according to documents requested by WXYZ TV News.
In another fatal public school drowning in River
Rouge, Michigan, on April 15, 2002, a 16-year-old boy, Willis Holder
was found floating in the deep end of the River
Rouge High School pool according to WDIV-TV.
He was taken to Wyandotte Hospital where he later died after apparently
drowning in the school's swimming pool during gym class. WDIV reports
Holder was in a gym class with "about 20 other students and two
teachers, both of whom were trained as lifeguards. One teacher was in
the locker room with students and the other was helping students out
of the pool." According to the Detroit
News, Holder, "was pulled from the pool alive and was given
CPR by a teacher about 2:40 p.m. An EMS crew took him to Wyandotte Hospital,
where he died. School board President Lynn Tate said the district will
have grief counselors at the high school today. Police Sgt. Robert Alderman
is investigating the death."
Item 16 of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to River Rouge
High School dated April 17, 2002 asked for "one copy of any and
all video or audio tape surveillance of the response of the drowning
of Willis Holder." As the school district had invoices for television
equipment, it seemed unusual the school district would not have video
surveillance of their public swimming pool area. We received a May 9,
2002 response from school superintendent Benjamin J Benford II stating
"the River Rouge School district
does not have surveillance equipment in the pool area."
Since our FOIA request, we have discovered that the invoices
for video equipment paid for by the River Rouge school district were
fake as the video equipment never made it to the schools.
According to the Detroit
News, on May 6, 2003, a federal grand jury indicted the now former
school superintendent Benjamin J Benford II for conspiring to steal
$200,000 from the district.
FBI officials allege that school superintendent Benjamin J Benford
II, was part of a scheme between July 1998 and October 2002 with Joseph
Hudson, 47, that involved submitting false invoices for television studio
equipment that never made it to the schools. Click
here for the May 7, 2003 Detroit News article regarding the indictment
of school superintendent Benjamin J Benford II. In 2002, an outside
audit of the River Rouge School District found $1,000,000.00 missing.
Here is an additional story regarding the indictment from the News-Herald.
River Rouge High School was previously in the news when four high school
football players were accused
of gang raping a 14-year-old cheerleader on September 20, 2000.
The four athletes then played in the River Rouge High School football
game that weekend.
In another fatal public school drowning Saginaw,
Michigan, on March 20, 2001 at Saginaw High School, a 17-year
old boy drowned as reported by WNEM-TV.
According to information disclosed on May 23, 2001 to Communications
Electronics Inc., Emergency Operations Center under the Michigan
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 1976 PA 442, MCLA 15.231 et. seq.,
the on-duty lifeguard "was in a removable splint and she was on
In page 2 of a report
from Mike Manley, School
District of the City of Saginaw, Office of Information Services
dated March 23, 2001 regarding the teacher who was also the lifeguard
during the Saginaw, Michigan public swimming pool drowning at Saginaw
High School, Manley (with color added) says;
"There has been much discussion and speculation about Bobbi Fischer's
physical condition at the time of the incident. She had injured her
knee (chipped bone) in a motorcycle accident a few days earlier and
was out of school March 14, 15, 16 and 19. When she returned on Tuesday,
March 20, 2001 her leg was in a removable
splint and she was on crutches. At poolside, to keep from slipping on
the wet deck, she used a wheelchair for stability. She
indicated in an interview with our staff yesterday that she was mobile
and that the brace would not limit her ability to swim. An accomplished
swimmer, she said she could swim better than most people with her leg
in a brace.
Ms. Fischer, who has taught physical education at Saginaw
High since 1995 (the first two years she split time between Saginaw
High and traveling physical education), is a certified lifeguard and
water safety instructor. She also works as a lifeguard at Saginaw
Valley State University. She said she has been credited with 75
saves. She started as a lifeguard when she was 16." According to
the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality, public health code, this teacher acting as lifeguard could
not be qualified to be hired as a lifeguard for the School District
of the City of Saginaw, because she could not produce evidence
over two months after this fatal drowning that she is or was currently
certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation as required by the MDEQ.
Regarding this fatal drowning, according
to a report on page three from Mike Manley, Kia Jones was an aide
to lifeguard/teacher Ms. Fischer. According to the student witnesses,
this aide to lifeguard/teacher Ms. Fischer did not know how to swim
on the date of the fatal drowning. Although the Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality pool rule 325.2198(3d) states that a lifeguard
must "be dressed in suitable swimming attire which allows the lifeguard
to be suitably prepared to enter the water and act in an emergency and
which allows persons in the enclosure to be able to readily identify
the lifeguard" according to Kia
Jones, in a recorded statement the teacher/lifeguard "Fischer
was in um the wheelchair sitting with her foot propped up with pillows..."
In addition, the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality pool rule 325.2198(3b) states, a lifeguard shall "be a
capable swimmer and be competent in lifeguarding techniques." It
seems highly unusual that a competent lifeguard needs to use crutches,
a removable leg splint and a wheelchair for stability to keep from slipping
on the pool deck.
In response to Communications
Electronics, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated June 11,
2001, item 8 requests, "if any witness statement interview(s)
regarding the drowning of Benjamin Henderson was recorded on audio or
videotape, I also request a copy of that audio or videotape." An
audiotape recording was mailed to Communications Electronics on June
18, 2001. This audio tape recording of the Kia Jones fatal drowning
statement appears to be tampered with as critical words have been expurgated
from the recording sent to us by the School District of the City of
Saginaw. In response to our first FOIA request, we received a partial
transcript of the audio taped witness statement from Kia Jones and the
written transcript does not exactly match the audio tape.
From the City
of Saginaw Police Department, Incident number 717-0003965-01 (10)
supplemental incident report 0001 dated Tuesday March 20, 2001 and investigated
by Detective Ronald J Gwizdala #237 he reports
"I found a class book for Ms. Fischer classes and I noted that
Benjamin (victim) was an A student. I was also informed by Sgt. Howell
that the instructor was in a wheelchair
and a student went down and pulled the victim out of the pool."
In another fatal public school drowning in Van Buren Township, Michigan
a 9-year-old Detroit boy who was pulled from the deep end of a public
swimming pool at Lower
Huron Metropark died July 28, 2001 at the University
of Michigan Mott Children's
Hospital shortly after his parents arranged for his organs to be
harvested for donation, said Chief Victor Hess of the Metropark Police
and as reported by the Ann
In another fatal public school drowning in Detroit,
Michigan a 10-year-old boy Gabriel Graham was found at the bottom
of the public swimming pool at the Butzel
Recreation Center and was pronounced dead August 9, 2001 at Children's
Hospital. WDIV TV - Channel
4 in Detroit, Michigan reports Graham's aunt said the "boy
was allegedly pushed into the pool by a teenager who might have been
In the March 15, 2004 Ann Arbor News, the Associated Press reports
the parents of 17-year old drowning victim Sheldon Taylor file a lawsuit
in Livingston County circuit court against Pine Hils camp in Hamburg
Township, Michigan. The suit claims Pine Hills camp failed to provide
adequate safety and rescue equipment during a fatal swimming lesson.
here for the story from the Ann Arbor News. Click
here for the story from the Detroit News.
After clicking through the links on this page and this water safety
web site, we invite you to share your ideas on what caused these fatal
public pool drownings by sending e-mail
to Ken Ascher with your observations.
Did you know, you can drown anywhere, at anytime, and in anything.
As reported by the Detroit
Free Press on May 4, 2001, 13-year-old Detroit boy drowned after
he jumped into a flooded truck loading dock behind an abandoned building
in Hamtramck, Michigan, police said. The boy was recovered after dive
teams searched more than two hours. He was transported to Children's
Hospital of Michigan, where he was pronounced dead.
Did you also know, if you drink too much at a party in Michigan and
drown in the river, in many Michigan college towns, you party host may
be charged with a crime as reported by the Detroit
Free Press March 28, 2002.
You should also know, as of February 6, 2001, the State of Michigan
has dropped their requirement of requiring lifeguards to have valid
and current evidence of successful completion of a recognized course
of first aid.
Some first aid information appropriate to water safety is contained
in the American
Red Cross Lifeguard Training course. In addition, the care steps
for CPR outlined within the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training course
have been updated to meet the Emergency
Cardiovascular Care (ECC) 2000 Guidelines. This lifeguard training
course incorporates the latest consensus recommendations for performing
CPR and emergency cardiac care for optimal response and improved outcomes.
Communications Electronics Inc., Emergency
Operations Center has various community outreach programs to help
protect and improve the health and well being of United States and Canadian
citizens. CEI water safety programs are offered as a public service,
in an effort to reduce fatalities, injuries and property damage related
to water recreation. Communications Electronics water safety programs
will investigate fatal drowning incidents in any government owned Michigan
public swimming pool or water park facility and can also facilitate
an aquatic fatality review. Using our special, unique resources and
contacts with water safety specialists we'll help determine what steps
can be used to help prevent another fatality or serious accident. The
information we collect is available for distribution to other teams
and agencies across the world that review water fatalities and to other
concerned individuals and agencies such as the National
Center on Child Fatality Review. Kenneth
A Ascher, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer has over three
decades of experience as an instructor in water
SCUBA Diving, cardiopulmonary
resuscitation and first
aid. After serving a two year term on the Board of Directors of
the Washtenaw County chapter of the American Red Cross, Ken Ascher now
serves as a committee member of the Health
and Safety Committee.
No Breast-feeding in Ann Arbor
YMCA public pool. Did you know, in Ann Arbor, Michigan,
the YMCA, says you cannot brest-feed your baby in the swimming pool
area because it violates a "no
food and drink'' rule. See Ann Arbor News story below
Breast-feeding mom runs afoul of Y's pool policy
'No food and drink' a health rule, facility says
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
BY TRACY DAVIS
News Staff Reporter
An Ann Arbor woman is upset that the YMCA will not allow her to breast-feed
her baby in the swimming pool area.
Kelly Fuks said she was told it's a distraction to the lifeguards.
The Y says it is a health issue because it violates a "no food
and drink'' rule in the pool area. Officials say she can breast-feed
in many other parts of the building.
Fuks hopes community support and sentiment will change the minds of
The issue arose Dec. 22 when Fuks took her 6-month-old daughter, Ansley,
her 3-year-old son, Maxwell, and a friend swimming at the Y in downtown
Ann Arbor. Fuks said a lifeguard approached and told her she could not
breast-feed Ansley on the deck of the family pool.
When she queried Y management later by phone, Fuks said, she was told
that breast-feeding by the pool is forbidden because it's a distraction
"In my opinion, if their lifeguards are that easily distracted,
they need much better lifeguards and a better training program,'' Fuks
She said she had breast-fed at the Y's pool in the past, and that no
one had noticed because it's a discreet process.
"You can't see what's going on,'' she said. "A young girl
in a bikini is much more of a distraction than me.''
But Diane Carr, senior programs director at the Y, said all food and
drink is forbidden in the pool area, and that exceptions can't be made
"It's difficult to be able to make exceptions and then be able
to enforce it,'' she said.
Asked about the distraction rationale, she said that anything happening
in the pool area that breaks rules is a distraction to lifeguards because
they have to respond and deal with it.
Carr said the issue has come up before, including at the old building.
She said the "no food and drink'' rule came at the recommendation
of the county health inspector and is a long-standing regulation.
Soggy food in the pool area is unsanitary, especially if it gets in
the pool or if a child vomits after eating in the pool, she said. People
bringing drinks might break glass bottles, which would require draining
the pool, Carr said.
"From the health inspector's perspective, your policies need to
be stated and consistent and no exceptions,'' she said.
Linda Wieser, an Ann Arbor resident and Michigan professional liaison
for the La Leche League, a breast-feeding advocacy organization, said
that such situations are not uncommon.
Under Michigan law, a woman cannot be prosecuted for public nudity
while breast-feeding, she said. But it doesn't specifically protect
a woman's right to breast-feed where she wants to, Wieser said.
"People assume there are laws for these things, but there really
aren't,'' she said.
Officials with the Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Ypsilanti and Saline
recreation departments said the issue has never arisen, and none has
a policy about breast-feeding in a swimming pool area.
"This is part of life,'' said Carla Scruggs, director of Saline
Parks and Recreation. "Usually mothers who are breast-feeding are
fairly discreet. ... It just hasn't been a topic.''
Still, Scruggs said, she's not sure what she would do if it became
Nancy Burghardt, recreation facilities unit supervisor in Ann Arbor,
said she hasn't had it come up in her 18 years with the department -
and if it were an issue, it would have come to her. Certainly, she said,
every other issue has, from thong bikinis to Muslim dress.
Fuks said she hopes the community will speak out to support a rule
The Y does allow breast-feeding in other areas where parents and children
are permitted to be together, such as the family locker rooms or the
lobby waiting area.
But, Fuks said, it is too much trouble to pack up her children and
head back to the locker room when Ansley gets hungry. Her primary goal
while swimming is to let Maxwell get his ya-yas out, and constant interruptions
to feed his sister don't help, she said.
"The Y's motto is (we build) 'strong kids, strong families and
strong communities,''' she said. "I'm asking them to meet the needs
of the smallest person in the community.''
Staff reporter Susan L. Oppat contributed to this report. Tracy Davis
can be reached at email@example.com or (734) 994-6856. ©2006
Ann Arbor News
The opinions expressed on some pages
of our web site are those of Communications Electronics Inc., or the
author of the documents released to CEI under the Freedom of Information
Acts or subpoena. Documents may also be submitted to CEI directly by
an author. The opinions expressed in our web site do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of any other person or organization mentioned in
our web site.
According to the National
Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety in
the United States from 1993 to 1996, drowning was the second leading
cause of unintentional injury-related death to children under age 15.
During this time, 4,063 drowning deaths occurred to children under age
15. It is estimated that for each childhood drowning death approximately
four children are hospitalized for near-drowning. Annually, drowning
and near-drowning injuries among children under age 15 in the United
States result in an estimated cost of $6.2 billion. The estimated cost
per near-drowning is $84,000 while the estimated cost per fatal drowning
is $3.6 million.
You can help prevent a Michigan public swimming pool death. It's as
easy as 1-2-3. When visiting a Michigan public swimming pool, it is
your responsibility to check if valid and current certifications are
posted for (1) lifeguard
training and (2) CPR
for the Professional Rescuer. (3) A valid and current public
swimming pool permit must also be posted. In the State of Michigan,
if these three documents are not posted, the pool can not be legally
open. If you visit a Michigan public swimming pool and do not see current
and valid posted lifeguard and CPR for the Professional Rescuer certifications
and a non-expired public pool permit, do not swim in that public pool.
E-mail Ken Ascher
with your concerns. You should also report your concerns to Mr. Richard
Sacks, P.E., Section Chief of the State of Michigan, Department
of Environmental Quality, Environmental Health Section, Recreational
Resources Program at +1-517-241-1317.