First Aid Training Saves Life

JULY 2023 – Noah Downs’ quick action helped save the life of a young girl who nearly drowned.

Downs is the track foreman at Seadrift Industrial Rail in Texas, where he started in January. Around his start date, Roadmaster Daniel Rowlands asked the Watco Safe Performance team to hold a course at the facility that certifies teammates in CPR, First Aid, and AED. That training quickly paid off for Downs.

During a recent event at an apartment complex swimming pool, Downs noticed a child struggling to keep her head above water and saw her drop below the surface. He immediately dove into the water and pulled the child out of the pool. Finding that she was unresponsive, he handed the girl to his wife and her friend, both of whom are registered nurses.

While they began performing life-saving measures, Downs checked for a pulse and couldn’t find one. He also noticed the girl’s abdomen seemed swollen. She’d swallowed water. Downs turned her onto her side and started compressions, forcing the water out of her mouth.

“The training kicked in,” Rowlands said. “Someone was trying to give the girl breaths, but he knew they had to get the water out first. There was a bit of a confrontation at one point about breaths versus compressions, but he took charge and got the water out.”

By then, the girl’s mother had arrived and had begun giving rescue breaths. Soon, Downs was able to feel a pulse, and the girl came to as emergency responders arrived. She was treated at a local hospital and released soon after. Today, the girl is completely recovered and suffers no long-term health problems.

“I think it speaks to Noah’s character and the importance of the training,” said Rowlands. “A lot of people might not do anything, or know what to do, but he jumped right in and was capable and confident that he could help because he had the toolset. That’s just who he is.”