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Stuck in the pool, social media comes to the rescue for Epping woman

Union Leader Correspondent

August 17. 2017 8:56PM
Leslie Kahn was relieved when people responded to her Facebook post pleading for help after she became stuck in her pool. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

Leslie Kahn's post seeking help on the Epping Squawks Facebook page. (Facebook)

EPPING — Leslie Kahn realized the power of social media after she became stuck in her pool when the ladder broke and no one was around to help.

What began as a relaxing afternoon swim on Aug. 11 quickly turned into an embarrassing predicament.

“I tried different ways to get out of the pool, but it was the middle step that broke and when I went down, I crashed my knee. I just don’t have the upper-body strength to haul myself up over the edge,” said Kahn, 61.

With her cellphone inside the house, Kahn was unable to reach a friend — or anyone else. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do? How long do I want to stay in the pool,’” she recalled.

Then it dawned on her.

Kahn decided that her best shot at getting help in a hurry was to post a plea on Epping Squawks, a popular community Facebook page with more than 4,000 members.

“I knew that Epping Squawks was the way to go because people are on there all day long,” she said.

The only problem was that her iPad, which she brought outside for a little reading, was sitting in a chair on the other side of the deck. Reaching the iPad was a challenge, but she eventually grabbed the pool pole and was able to drag the chair across the deck and get her hands on the device.

Luckily, her Wi-Fi signal was strong enough for her to connect to Facebook.

She began her plea for help with “911!” to make sure her post would get immediate attention, although she said she didn’t feel it was necessary for police or fire crews to be called.

Kahn knew there was a possibility that no one would see her post right away and that she could remain pool-bound for a while, but she was hopeful.

Seven minutes after her post, the first commenter asked for her exact address so he could call the police.

“I didn’t really need cops or firemen here. I just needed somebody to bring me tools so I could move one of the steps from the bottom up to the top and then climb out. It was a dignity thing, too. I didn’t want to be hauled out of the pool,” she said.

Other comments followed.

“Someone close by go help her out. Don’t be jerks,” one woman wrote.

“Help is on the way,” wrote another.

Within a half-hour of her post, Epping resident Tracie Wilkins showed up at Kahn’s home to lend a hand. A relieved Kahn directed her to grab a toolbox inside the house.

Epping police officer Aaron Filipowicz also arrived a short time later and joined in the rescue effort.

Unfortunately, Kahn said, they were unable to slide up the bottom ladder step to the middle. They then tried putting a chair in the pool, but Kahn didn’t feel safe climbing out.

“Everything we thought of wasn’t working,” she said.

Tenants who live at her home soon arrived and remembered that there was a step ladder outside the house. As a last resort, she said the step ladder was put in the pool and she was able to climb out without trouble.

Kahn said she has learned an important lesson after being trapped in the pool for an hour.

While the ladder is now fixed, she plans to keep her cellphone nearby in case she gets in another jam.

And she can always turn to Epping Squawks on her iPad.

“A lot of times people complain (on Epping Squawks), but other times it’s helpful and people are there. People respond,” she said.

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