By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Can you remember what you were doing on January 27? Perhaps it was just another chilly Saturday to you, but to Anna Pomahac, it is not a date to be forgotten.
During a visit to Elm Bank, the tenth grader at Dover-Sherborn High School expected nothing more than a morning walk with her mother. When she spotted a lone dog playing with its ball, however, Anna felt that there was something amiss about the scene. The dog’s owner, although out of sight, was just feet away.
Moments later, Anna noticed a woman waist-deep in the frigid water, hidden from the trail by the bushes lining the bank. Immediately, Anna and her mother made their way to the woman, stepping carefully to avoid slipping on the icy bank and falling into the water, too.
“Although internally I was feeling all sorts of emotions,” Anna said, describing the confusion, distress, and concern she felt, “I did not want to create a panicked environment, so I stayed calm in effort to create the idea that I have the situation under control.”
The woman was conscious and had been trying to pull herself out of the water for over five minutes, but the sheet of ice covering the bank made such a task nearly impossible. Soon, with the help of Anna and Anna’s mother, the woman was out of the freezing water and resting on a dry patch on the bank.
“[She] was shaking and stiff from the cold, but she had no tinge of panic in her tone when she spoke, making me feel more confident that just assistance to her car and a hot bath ought to help her,” said Anna.
A couple passing by also offered their help, and the four aided the woman to her car. As they walked down the slick pathway, though, the woman lost her footing and hit her head against the icy path.
Seeing that the fall could have easily cause a concussion, the four quickly dialed 911 and kept the woman warm with their jackets until an ambulance came.
“I tried once again to stay calm, knowing stress and panic will only make everything worse,” Anna said, knowing that she had to control the scene and divert the trail’s other visitors away from the water and from the woman.
“I have never exactly been in a similar situation to this, but I consider myself a very calm person in general,” she said. “Very few times do I stress, and I knew this time, based on my first-aid training in school, that situations like this require a controlled environment.”
Anna also was able to get in contact with the woman’s daughter to inform her of all that was happening - and for her to pick up the dog.
Later that day, Anna heard from the woman’s daughter. Her mother was doing well, she said, and was discharged that evening from a local hospital to rest at home.
Because it can be overwhelming to find oneself at the scene of an emergency, Anna offered some advice for those who may not know how to help someone in a crisis: “Even if you may not be certified in any sort of basic training, at least being able to keep the victim company until medical attention or somebody more skilled arrives is equally as effective,” she said.
“Just telling the person that they will be okay and that [help is] on the way is super important, and enough to help them emotionally if you can't exactly help them physically.”