A series of drowning incidents in Seattle has piqued our concern here at Perey Law Group, and we know we aren’t the only ones. We couldn’t help but be alarmed by Monday’s incident, which took place across the street from our offices.
According to the Seattle Times, a 6-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital after she was pulled from the deep end of a pool at Safe N Sound Swimming, which is located at 2000 Westlake Ave. It is not known how long she was below the surface of the water, but fortunately she was reported to be in stable condition and breathing.
The incident comes on the heels of another which left a young college student dead.
Death Sparks Fire Department Procedural Review
On June 30, the body of 27-year-old doctoral student Tesfaye Girma Deboch was pulled from the bottom of the pool at the Quality Inn & Suites Seattle Center. He had drowned.
Here is the shocking part: The fire department had already arrived and left before the body was discovered. As the man lay below the surface, firefighters said the pool was empty. They canceled a call for a dive team. No rescue personnel ever entered the water.
This is likely due to distortions caused by the water. The Times cites a 2007 study by the International Life Saving Federation that indicated surface turbulence, water depth, water clarity and lighting conditions can combine to make a body below the surface essentially invisible.
Seattle’s fire chief says the department did not know this.
Who is Liable?
The chief said the department was not properly trained in pool rescues and will review all water-rescue procedures. While this is something that must be done, as attorneys, we don’t think it’s enough.
Firefighters had been promptly summoned to the scene by friends of Deboch after they said he disappeared below the surface, and the Times reported that were on the scene for 17 minutes. Could the young man’s life have been saved if he was pulled from the pool when help first arrived? We will never know.
Pool owners are also responsible for ensuring pools are safe. In the most recent incident, for example, a 6-year-old girl nearly drowned at an establishment that teaches people to swim. If swimming is your business, you are legally responsible for ensuring that your customers are safe. What went wrong?
At Perey Law, we have always been concerned about pool safety. We have offered this infographic to promote pool safety and keep people safe. But, while safety starts with each of us, we must rely on proper emergency responses and properly maintained and supervised pools. When those things are not in place, people get hurt or killed, and the affected families deserve legal representation.
If a loved one has been the victim of a drowning incident in a pool, you should contact Perey Law today to learn about what legal help might be available to you. All consultations are free and without obligation.