YMCA pool reopens with prayer


New safety procedures in place at pool

By Charles Warner - cwarner@civitasmedia.com



Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times The Rev. Scott Cannon (center) of Jonesville Baptist Church leads a group of approximately two dozen Union County YMCA staffers, clergymen, and members of the public in prayer at the YMCA pool Thursday morning. A prayer service was held prior to the reopening of the pool which had been closed to the public since the July 22 drowning death of seven-year-old Miracle Smith.


Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times Approximately two dozen people took part in a prayer service at the Union County YMCA pool Thursday morning. The pool reopened Thursday after being closed for week following the drowning death of Miracle Smith on July 22.


By Charles Warner

cwarner@civitasmedia.com

UNION — Approximately two dozen people including four members of the clergy held hands and prayed together Thursday morning at the reopening of the Union County YMCA swimming pool.

The pool has been closed to the public since Wednesday, July 22 after the drowning death of seven-year-old Miracle Smith. Smith had been at the pool with a group from the Union Housing Authority when she was found unresponsive by lifeguards who pulled her from the water and performed CPR on her. The efforts by the lifeguards, EMS personnel called to scene, and emergency room personnel at Wallace Thomson Hospital to resuscitate Smith were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Smith’s death is being investigated by the Union County Coroner’s Office, the Union Public Safety Department and the SLED Child Fatality Division. An autopsy performed on Smith’s body found that her death was consistent with accidental drowning, but the investigation by SLED is still continuing.

In the aftermath of Smith’s death, the pool was closed to the public while the YMCA reviewed its policies and procedures regarding pool safety. Inspectors from DHEC and investigators from SLED both visited the pool and cleared it to reopen, but YMCA Director Scott Sandor said the decision was made to keep it closed while pool safety policies and procedures were reviewed and new precautions added.

With those precautions now in place, Sandor announced earlier this week that the pool would reopen to the public on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Prior to the pool’s opening, however, Sandor and other members of the YMCA staff, four members of the clergy, and members of the public came together for a short prayer service at the pool. After a few remarks by Sandor and the reading of scripture and remarks by some of the clergymen present, the approximately two dozen people participating joined hands and formed a prayer circle, bowed their heads and prayed.

After the prayer service, Sandor said it was felt that prayers were needed to help the YMCA and the community move forward from this tragedy.

“We just felt it was important for the community, for the YMCA as an organization, for our people who were very close to this tragedy to come together and bless the pool,” Sandor said. “We want to continue to serve the community at a high level and we felt this was an important piece in moving forward.”

Safety Precautions

The additional safety precautions the YMCA has implemented include closing the pool for 10 minutes at the top of each hour of preparation. This will be from five minutes to the hour until five minutes after the hour.

The YMCA is also using the “test, mark, protect” system for enhanced pool safety

The test portion of the system requires all participants under the age of 14 to pass a swim test in order to use the entire pool area. The test will consist of swimming the length of the pool (25 yards) without touching the bottom of the pool and maintaining at least a 45-degree angle; treading water for 30 seconds while keeping ears and face above water; and plunging into water above head level and easily returning to the surface.

The mark portion involves giving the swimmers who pass the test a bright yellow wristband to indicate they have passed. This will also include a tracking system so swimmers do not have to repeatedly take the swim test.

The protect portion will require non-swimmers who do not meet height requirements to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest. Non-swimmers under the age of 10 must be within arm’s length of their responsible adult, and one adult can be responsible for no more than three children. Lastly, any participant who is deemed to be exhibiting unsafe swimming practices may be asked to perform a swim test at the lifeguard’s discretion. Failure to comply with any of the lifeguards’ instructions can result in revocation of pool privileges.

Sandor also said the YMCA will track the number of saves made in the future, as people are assisted to safety each year. Lifeguard training comes through the YMCA or the American Red Cross. Lifeguards’ level of CPR training (professional rescuer CPR) is more extensive than “layperson CPR” or “cardiac arrest CPR” but less than an EMT.

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
The Rev. Scott Cannon (center) of Jonesville Baptist Church leads a group of approximately two dozen Union County YMCA staffers, clergymen, and members of the public in prayer at the YMCA pool Thursday morning. A prayer service was held prior to the reopening of the pool which had been closed to the public since the July 22 drowning death of seven-year-old Miracle Smith.
http://uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_IMG_0010.jpgCharles Warner | The Union Daily Times
The Rev. Scott Cannon (center) of Jonesville Baptist Church leads a group of approximately two dozen Union County YMCA staffers, clergymen, and members of the public in prayer at the YMCA pool Thursday morning. A prayer service was held prior to the reopening of the pool which had been closed to the public since the July 22 drowning death of seven-year-old Miracle Smith.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Approximately two dozen people took part in a prayer service at the Union County YMCA pool Thursday morning. The pool reopened Thursday after being closed for week following the drowning death of Miracle Smith on July 22.
http://uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_IMG_0011.jpgCharles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Approximately two dozen people took part in a prayer service at the Union County YMCA pool Thursday morning. The pool reopened Thursday after being closed for week following the drowning death of Miracle Smith on July 22.
New safety procedures in place at pool

By Charles Warner

cwarner@civitasmedia.com

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

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