Coroner, YMCA talk the importance of swim lessons, CPR after Albany drowning incident

Video from WALB
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 8:23 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Albany has seen its first child drowning death this summer after a 15-year-old boy drowned at an apartment complex.

Carlos Lamar was the drowning victim. Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler says he was with his family at The Gardens on Whispering Pines.

“He jumped into 8 feet of water trying to do as someone else was doing. Swimming,” Fowler said. “He thought he could swim, but he could not swim. And he went into distress and they were not able to get him out in time.”

Lamar was taken to the hospital. Sadly, he didn’t make it. WALB’s Gabrielle Taite reached out to his family, but haven’t heard back. Fowler says this death is tragic and surprising. He says this has not happened in Dougherty County in a while.

“We haven’t had a drowning since we started the Swim for Life program and we’ve been doing it for five years. This is the 6th year. We had two years off for COVID,” he said.

The program gives free swimming lessons. The Boys & Girls of Albany is a partner in that program. CEO Tim Wofford says this program is especially important for minorities.

A helper at the YMCA demonstrating CPR.
A helper at the YMCA demonstrating CPR.(WALB)

“It is really one of the skills that we as minorities tend to think that it is not important. Sometimes it’s fear. Sometimes it’s just not having available space to learn how to swim,” Wofford said. “But it is one of the things we’re trying to do to make sure we encourage more members of the African-American or people of color to learn how to swim.”

Video from WALB

Lessons at the Boys & Girls Club are readily accessible.

“Really every day,” he said. “We know that’s tough for parents to drop off and have kids come every day. But it is available because we know summer school is in as well, so we want to make sure there’s an opportunity for kids to come every day. Beginning usually 9 o’clock first lessons go.”

Tim Wofford is the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club. He says the club offers free swimming lessons...
Tim Wofford is the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club. He says the club offers free swimming lessons throughout the summer.(WALB)

Wofford tells me the organization encourages not only children to learn how to swim but their parents too. He says you’re never too old to learn such an important life skill.

CPR is also an essential skill.

When done correctly, CPR provided by a bystander after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple someone’s chance of survival. But only a small percentage actually get CPR from a bystander, according to American Heart Association.

Tim Wofford emphasizes the importance of CPR.

“We actually encourage all of our staff to take CPR,” he said. “We are obligated to have at least one person in the building that has CPR and first aid certification. It’s one of those things that we certainly have to do to maintain that safety.”

He says all parents should learn CPR. Especially if they’re watching kids at the pool this summer.

Journee Cotton is the aquatics director at the YMCA pool. She says CPR not only comes in handy at a pool.

Journee Cotton is the Aquatics Director at the YMCA. She says CPR can help in other places...
Journee Cotton is the Aquatics Director at the YMCA. She says CPR can help in other places besides the pool.(WALB)

“It’s really important because you can actually take this wherever you go,” she said. “It could be like if you were just walking down the street and there’s a car crash and someone needs CPR. You can actually take that and use it on them to save a life.”

This is what those that know CPR do. First, they check to make sure that it’s okay to do CPR. Then, she says they should see how responsive the person needing CPR is. If unresponsive, 911 should be called.

“You’re going to go ahead and do 30 compressions in the middle of the chest,” Cotton said. “And after your 30 compressions, you’re going to give breath. Tilt-back that head, not too much. Just enough to open up the airways. So it’s going to be 30 compressions, two breaths. And you’re going to keep doing that until 5 rounds or two minutes.”

Cotton tells me the YMCA offers CPR classes as well if people are interested in signing up.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.