I followed with dismay the story about the little girl who nearly drowned this month at Klineline Pond. Almost miraculously, there was a happy ending. However, I can’t help thinking this was a preventable tragedy.
I have swum in the summer at Klineline for several years and, until recently, many lifeguards were on duty there. On busy days, and on weekends, as many as three guards were watching different parts of the roped-off swim area, and often there would be another in a canoe on the water. They all disappeared the summer of 2010, as did the roped-off area. Instead, we have “swim at your own risk” signs. Since then, I’ve seen children and teenagers doing dumb things on or near the water, which is to be expected. The guards always had their hands full maintaining order.
No doubt this elimination was done as part of budget cutting, but you’d think that someone would have thought twice before eliminating employees with the job title of “lifeguard.” It seems incredibly shortsighted, and their absence worried me. If anyone has any doubts that budget cuts can potentially kill people, here is your proof. The lifeguards should be brought back. Next time — and there will be a next time — we may not be so lucky.