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Mother, officials urge pool safety

Mom used CPR to save 18-month-old daughter

Posted: July 9, 2008 1:47 a.m.
Updated: September 9, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Bryanna Fennessy, 2, held by her father Dan Fennessy, listens to Robyn Fennessy as she recalls almost losing Bryanna last year in a pool-related drowning, during a news conference on pool safety Tuesday morning at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

Robyn Fennessy probably planned on spending some time with her husband and three children in the family pool during the Memorial Day weekend last year.

She did not plan on diving into the pool to save her then 18-month-old daughter from drowning.
On May 25, 2007, Fennessy was preparing dinner when she realized her youngest daughter, Bryanna, was nowhere to be found. Moments later, Fennessy realized a mother’s worst nightmare — she saw Bryanna face down in the family’s backyard swimming pool.

“I told my son to call 911, and I just dove into the pool,” Fennessy told reporters Tuesday at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, as Bryanna, now two and a half years old, was clinging to her mother’s dress. “When I pulled her out, she was all blue.”

Fennessy was at the Aquatics Center for a multi-agency news conference on pool safety and CPR training.
As soon as she pulled her daughter out of the pool, Fennessy began CPR as her son spoke with the emergency operator.

Moments later, she said a helicopter landed on their cul-de-sac as sheriff’s deputies and paramedics arrived. Bryanna was immediately taken to the hospital.
“She’s so beautiful now,” Fennessy said.

One year later, Fennessy said Bryanna can now swim great lengths on her own.
“Swim lessons are very important,” Fennessy said, adding that courses are now offered for infants as young as nine months old.

She also stressed having several layers of protection for backyard pools, including proper fencing, pool covers, alarms, latches and locks. Fennessy said that since Bryanna’s near drowning, she has added an alarm and a few locks to make sure history does not repeat itself.

“We thought we did everything right,” she said. Prior to Bryanna’s near-drowning, Fennessy said she did have a fence with locks surrounding the pool, though apparently it was not enough protection.

On Tuesday, Fennessy joined her husband, three children, and officials from the county Fire Department, city of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station to urge residents to learn the basics of pool safety in order prevent children from drowning.

“Pool safety and education is tremendously important,” said Mayor Bob Kellar. “Every year, there is loss of life due to the lack of water safety. We need to require constant review of our pools.”

Kellar echoed sentiments of Batallion 6 Chief Bill Niccum, urging families to safely take advantage of backyard and community pools as summer temperatures peak over the next few weeks. Niccum also encouraged residents to learn CPR, participate in swim lessons and learn the basics of water safety in order to prevent water related deaths.


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