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Here’s What to Expect from Lifeguard Training

By Matt Sutherland | Posted June 4, 2020 in Lifeguard Job,Parent Blog,Summer Jobs,Uncategorized

How did you react when your child said they wanted to be a lifeguard? Certainly many of you celebrated their decision, but it’s not unlikely that some of you wondered why they couldn’t just mow lawns. We get it. Your child’s safety matters most to you, and that’s why it matters most to us at American Pool.

Life is anything but normal right now, which is why we’ve taken all our training modules online until it’s safe for our lifeguards to return to work (more on that in a bit). Once that happens, we’ll be ready with an in-person training plan that implements safe social distancing methods. 

But what exactly will your son or daughter learn? One answer is how to be a good citizen. Lifeguards play a crucial role in our society as first responders, so your child should already be commended for his or her efforts and determination. 

We could go on about how lifeguarding is a great resume builder, or how they’ll stay in physical shape — but your child has probably already mentioned those benefits, anyway. Instead, we’re going to look at the critical, lifelong skills they’ll learn. 

Still nervous? That’s understandable, but you can trust the experts (that’s us). We’re one of the largest providers of American Red Cross Lifeguard training in the United States. All instruction is performed by trained pool and lifeguarding professionals, and administered by either the American Red Cross or Jeff Ellis & Associates.

Preparation and Requirements

Being a lifeguard is both physically demanding and mentally challenging. Each trainee is also required to pass a swim pretest to demonstrate they will be adequately prepared for the demands to come. Your son or daughter must be prepared to:

  • Swim 300 yards continuously
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only his or her legs
  • Complete a timed event by swimming 20 yards out, without goggles, and diving 7–10 feet to retrieve and “rescue” a 10-pound object

While most pools are still waiting to get back into the full swing of summer, we’re decreasing the number of touch points during all in-person training exercises to ensure a safer training environment. Here are some the steps we’re taking:

  • Smaller in-person class sizes
  • All lecture and video segments will be taught virtually
  • Socially distanced instruction at a minimum of 6 feet
  • Increased frequency of hygienic and sanitation procedures
  • Minimized person-to-person and person-to-object contact
  • All sick individuals are required to stay home

Rescue Skills

No 2 rescues are alike. When an emergency situation strikes, there are dozens of factors that determine the safest way to perform a rescue.

Under close supervision, your son or daughter will learn these multiple factors and methods to perform an emergency water rescue. Our instructors will cover:

  • Rescue Equipment: How to use materials to make a rescue both safer and easier
  • Assists: Safe, practical methods for aiding distressed swimmers in common situations before attempting an in-water rescue
  • Entries: Determining the best method to enter the water based on depth, safety, and position above water
  • Approaches: Best ways to approach distressed swimmers based on proximity, equipment available, behavior, etc.
  • Escapes: How to protect oneself when a distressed swimmer behaves dangerously and puts a lifeguard at risk
  • Rescue Techniques: How to carry one or multiple distressed swimmers back to dry land
  • Removals: Safe ways to remove a distressed swimmer from water; accounting for injuries, consciousness, etc.

CPR and AED Use

We hope that it never has to happen, but here’s the reality of the job: It is very possible that your son or daughter will need to save someone’s life. 

When someone’s heart stops beating, a lifeguard performing CPR — or cardiopulmonary resuscitation — could save a life. But when combined with an automated external defibrillator (AED), that chance increases exponentially. 

Lifesaving may seem like a daunting task for a young adult — let alone anyone at any age. But we ensure your child will be as prepared as any trained professional, because they will be a trained professional! We offer certification in both CPR and AED use, which is available both in-person and online. CPR methods are different for children and infants than they are for adults, which is why your child will learn the correct application for each different situation.

First Aid, Personal Protective Equipment, and Bloodborne Pathogens

Today’s world requires a heightened level of biological protection, but to a trained lifeguard, this is “just another day at the office.”

We’re all getting a little extra education in biology right now, and some of a lifeguard’s occupational risks are indeed microscopic. However, we instruct every lifeguard on how to properly apply first aid techniques, and when to use personal protective equipment (PPE) so they can safely continue their duties and minimize biological exposure.

Every lifeguard should know how and when to use multiple forms of PPE.We’re also including new PPE response kits in our updated procedures to combat situations that may involve biological risk. These kits are separate from standard lifeguarding first aid kits, and include extra PPE items that may also be found in a standard kit. They include:  

  • 2 Bag Valve Masks (one size each for both adult and infant)
  • Disposable gown
  • Face shield
  • Protective goggles
  • Viral filter, compatible with both CPR Masks and BVMs

Health risks like Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV are also a concern for any lifeguard. In addition to learning how to properly use PPE to minimize risk, your child will also learn how to safely handle and minimize exposure to bloodborne pathogens, as directed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They will also learn how transmission occurs, along with the proper techniques to reduce exposure.

Lifeguarding is one of the most rewarding jobs anyone could have. If your child decides to pursue their lifeguarding interests, you can feel safe knowing their training is coming from some of the most experienced professionals in the business.

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