16-year-old lifeguard saves woman’s life during first week on the job

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – The quick thinking of a 16-year-old lifeguard saved a woman’s life in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Wednesday.

“I blew my whistle three times and I jumped in,” said lifeguard Avery Pritchard. “I was ready. I had to do what I had to do.”

It was only her sixth day on the job and her first summer as a certified lifeguard.

“I’m fairly new, this is my first year,” she said.

Guilford County Parks and Recreation officials said a 28-year-old woman suffered a medical emergency in the pool at the Bur-Mil Park Aquatic Center.

“I saw her in the middle of our shallow, deep area,” she said. “I did see her in distress, she had her hands around her neck.”

Officials said the woman had a seizure in the adult swimming pool.

“From training, you know signs of a seizure or drowning or other types of stuff,” she said. “You know what to do and it all becomes an instinct.”

Pritchard blew her whistle three times before she jumped into the water.

“It signals that there’s a save being done and all the lifeguards need to get there as fast as they can,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard swam to the woman in seconds. She held her close and pulled her to the edge of the pool.

“When we got here, we saw that she needed help taking her out of the water safely,” said Matthew Hrubes, a certified lifeguard of three years who assisted in the rescue.

Hrubes got the woman out of the water and onto the pool deck. Hrubes and Pritchard stayed with the woman as EMTs arrived and took her to get checked out in an ambulance.

Parents at the pool were thankful for the lifeguard’s fast response.

“It’s scary but you know the lifeguards are trained so well to handle this and be fast with their response times,” said Jessica Culbreth, who saw the rescue efforts.

Pritchard’s training and sharp eye made the biggest difference.

“It makes me feel thankful that I was there to be able to save her,” she said. “At this age, you should feel responsible and aware, and I feel pretty confident because of my training.”

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