The efforts of two Center for Domestic Preparedness instructors may have saved the lives of two swimmers at Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach, recently.
CDP instructors Frank Flynn and Mike Phillips flew to Honolulu, Hawaii, to provide non-resident law enforcement training in preparation for the upcoming International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress.
With the training starting in the late afternoon, Flynn and Phillips spent the morning of July 29 swimming at Waikiki Beach. It was there that Flynn saw what appeared to be a young girl in an inflatable tube float and an elderly man struggling near the beach’s containment wall.
“The man was really struggling. He was grasping for her tube and flipping her over,” said Flynn, who was swimming about 30 feet away from the distressed swimmers at the time. “I swam over and grabbed the man. He literally got combative. I had to tell him that I was trying to help.
Flynn started swimming, pulling the man into shallow water, when he heard the young woman’s screams.
“As we started swimming in, I heard the girl screaming. She was getting slammed into the containment wall and her float was flipping over in the surf,” Flynn said.
With the elderly man in tow, Flynn swam over to the woman and started pulling her toward safety, as well.
“It was tough going, but then the woman started kicking,” Flynn said, which helped propel the three of them toward the shallows where they would be out of danger.
Once Flynn was closer to shore, he called to Phillips for help. Phillips, who was swimming laps, assisted in getting the two distraught swimmers to shore. It was only then they learned the elderly man was the young woman’s father. And, the young woman was the mother of two children who were anxiously waiting on the beach.
Flynn nor Phillips have had any life guard training; however, Flynn is a trained SCUBA diver.
“I live in Boston,” said Flynn. “We train all the time. I trained with search and rescue, but that was 30 years ago.”
Flynn and Phillips were two of the CDP instructors who had travelled to Honolulu to train more than 230 Honolulu Police Officers, Hawaii Sheriff’s Department deputies and other responders in preparation for the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, Sept. 1-10, which is expected to draw protestors. The two instructors taught two iterations each of the Field Force Operations and Field Force Extrication Tactics courses and one iteration each of the Field Force Command and Planning and Field Force Command-Executive courses.
This marks the first time in the Congress’ more than 60-year history that the event will be held in the United States. More than 6,000 delegates are scheduled to attend this year’s IUCN Congress.
Both Flynn and Phillips work for the CDP’s training delivery contractor, Leidos. Flynn has served as a CDP instructor for 13 years and Phillips for three years.
The CDP is well-known for employing instructors who bring real-world experience to the classroom, ensuring that CDP students receive quality training. Flynn and Phillips are both full-time police officers who take time off from their duties to teach CDP training. Flynn, a canine sergeant, has served with the Boston Police Department for 35 years. Phillips, a police sergeant, has served with the Lansing (Michigan) Police Department for 31 years.
“Frank and Mike’s efforts exemplify the selfless qualities and commitment to serve others that we admire and depend on in America’s law enforcement officers and in our instructors,” said Leidos Program Manager Jesse Giddens. “From what I have heard, Frank and Mike were the only two who saw these two swimmers and recognized that they were in distress. If not for their efforts, the man and his daughter may have drowned.”