Staff save child’s life at Jay Peak waterpark

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JAY — A 9-year-old girl who suffered a medical event at Jay Peak Resort last month is recovering thanks to the quick response of park staff.

On Christmas Eve, the child, who was with her father and mother at the Pumphouse Indoor Waterpark, was found unconscious and unresponsive by several Jay Peak staff members.

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They immediately began performing chest compressions, provided oxygen and support as well as crowd control, and ended up resuscitating the young girl and bringing her back.

She was transported to North Country Hospital, then to the pediatric unit at UVM Hospital in Burlington.

It is believed she suffered a cardiac event prior to becoming unconscious, and that it was not a water-related accident.

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In a message of appreciation sent out to staff, Jay Peak President and General Manager Steve Wright said the girl was home now with her parents recovering.

Wright says the response was the result of the consistent and thorough training done at Jay Peak.

Park staff members involved in the response include Juan Ignacio Garcia, Miles Mason, Chelsea-Mitchel-Eby, Brieanna Niles, Sam Cota, Jill Czelusta, Felipe Hormazabal, Andres Nazer Blaset, Hazel Paxman, and Tyler Paxman.

Wright says that within the hospitality industry, a good amount of time is spent trying to deliver great experiences, but it comes second to making sure all visitors and employees are kept safe.

“What comes first, prior to memory making and experience delivering, is their safety and well-being,” Wright said. “From our Safety and Risk Directors in Tom Howell and Dave Marchand all the way to our front-line staff, we have worked hard to develop a culture of safety that was never more apparent and on display than it was on Christmas Eve inside The Pumphouse.”

Howell agrees that safety first is the motto at the resort.

“In a case like this, you have a debrief with the staff and people that were involved to see how they’re handling it internally and what their thoughts were when it was all happening,” Howell said. “It’s good to have those conversations, and then learn from situations like this.”

Howell says that at any given time, there could be more than 5,000 people at the resort counting on them.

“When we’re full, when every pillow has a head as we say, we’ve got over 2,400 people sleeping at the resort,” Howell said. “We could have another 3,000 people show up or more from day traffic, and then add another 1,000 employees on top of that. With all these people and facilities there are risks in the operation and the people that are in those operations like the water park, the hockey rink, or our ski patrol team, they all have to be trained thoroughly.”

Howell says many employees are also EMTs.

“On behalf of the entire resort, and unofficially on behalf of the parents of this young girl, I offer my sincere appreciation and admiration for the Christmas Eve work of all of those involved with this save,” Wright said. “Because of your heroism, a family gets to focus on making more memories together and gets to start the new year as grateful as any family could be.”

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