State-Run Pool Probe Following Drowning
According to The Boston Globe, the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s ten month review of policies and procedures, spurred by the drowning of 36-year-old Marie Joseph in a state-run pool in Fall River, Massachusetts, will likely lead to big changes in the agency. Our swimming pool accident attorney closely monitors all news of swimming pool accidents across the country, and is pleased to see movement towards some much needed changes following this tragic accident.
Last June Jospeh landed on a child after coming down the slide at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial pool. After the collision she resurfaced, but then slipped below the surface unnoticed by lifeguards and the large crowd at the pool that day. Shortly after Joseph went under in the 12 foot deep section of the pool and did not resurface. Her body went unnoticed at the bottom of the pool for two days until it finally rose to the surface.
Swimming pool accident attorney, Jesse Guerra believes that lifeguards can provide a false sense of security to swimmers when they fail to act reasonably. Without the proper pool management, lifeguards are ill-equipped to perform their important function. For example, if the lifeguard cannot see the bottom of the pool he cannot know whether someone in that area needs help. In instances like this the pool should be closed until visibility is restored so that lifeguards are able to do their jobs. Further, lifeguards must be able to give their full attention to swimmers while they are on duty. In order for this to be possible long shifts and lack of breaks must be avoided.
As part of the investigation into this case revealed, the agency believes that it was a mistake to open the pool on that day despite poor water clarity. The decision to open that day has been blamed on inadequate pool management, which has been found to be part of an agency-wide cultural problem of placing too little importance on pool oversight. The report also cited a failure to examine actual staff practices, and encouraging hiring only seasonal rather than permanent staff as another part of this overall problem.
Despite the fact that the slide was determined to not play a role in Joseph’s death, the agency has closed all slides at public pools through the summer. Before making a decision on their future use the agency is awaiting a federal review on their safety. The agency is also recommending the creation of a full-time aquatics division, the hiring of more lifeguards, and a new compliance system. Further, a five year old pool modernization program will be sped up.
Two former state recreation managers have been charged with reckless endangerment of a child for allowing children to swim in the murky water. Our swimming pool accident lawyer believes that had the pool been closed that day this unfortunate accident could have been avoided.
If you or someone you know is faced with the devastation of a drowning contact nationally-renown pool drowning attorney Jesse E. Guerra Jr., who can help you determine if there is a possibility of legal action against the pool owner or operator in your case. The J. Guerra Law Firm can assist you through the aftermath of such a terrible accident, and help ensure that future tragedies are prevented.
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