SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Cooperation and communication were the name of the game for dozens of Ashtabula County Water Rescue Team members working with college students at Kent State University Ashtabula Campus.

The water rescue team coordinated a life saving drill with the KSUA nursing department for the second year and more than a dozen students were added to the experience this year, organizers said.

The Red Brook Boat Club was the scene of the drill that involved members of the water rescue team finding a mannequin in the water.

“This provides them (students) with a totally unique opportunity,” said associate professor Lora Morris. She said nursing students don’t often face situations that involve immediate life and death emergency situations.

The water rescue team had about a half hour, after the original call, to find the missing swimmer, said Rome Township Fire Chief Ed Koziol who coordinated the drill with Saybrook Township Fire Chief John Jyurovat.

After divers walked the area to make sure the “victim” wasn’t close to shore two boats were put into play and the “victim,” Walter the mannequin, was soon found.

Rescue team members immediately began performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation and the boat brought the mannequin closer to shore where more team members put the “victim” on a stretcher and into a waiting cart.

Once the victim was ready for an ambulance, a second mannequin with all the latest technology, was put in its place and monitored on the way to the lab at KSUA.

The high-tech mannequin is the property of the nursing department. The lab was used as a de facto emergency room for the event.

Koziol said the technology inside the mannequin is able to monitor all procedures performed and evaluate how well the team responded. He said the results showed the team came through with flying colors.

The “victim” was properly treated and “survived” the endeavor, Koziol said.

He said the students and team members worked well together. “Everybody collaborated very well,” Koziol said.

Bernard Brusdon, a nursing student from Concord Township, played part of the “victim’s” family for the exercise.

“I definitely hope I don’t ever have to get in this situation,” Brusdon said. He said the exercises was eye-opening. 

“Everybody has a role to play,” he said of the coordination between the team members.

Brusdon said communication is extremely important in water rescue and as a nurse.

Jyurovat said the water rescue exercises are extremely important.

Jyurovat and Koziol said fire departments are working closely with local, state and national government officials to insure the U.S. Coast Guard Station remains a full-time station for years to come.

“You can’t put a number on how many people they save,” Jyurovat said. He said their larger vessels also offer a good place to dive from in case of a off-shore water rescue.

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