Doing the Baywatch thing? This is the ultimate source for Lifeguards. No Guard on duty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Lifeguarding Future

Guarding has been a part of my life since I was 16. Besides providing me with a source of income, I’ve made some of my best friends and had some of the most amazing experiences through my various aquatic jobs. I used to say that I would become a professional lifeguard in a heartbeat if I could. Ironically, this is coming true. Well, only partly.

After graduation this May, I will be moving down to Orlando and participating in the Disney College Program, which I was recently accepted into. I’m looking forward to this once in a lifetime opportunity to work for a world-renowned company, build transferable skills, meet people from around the world and live in Florida, where guards can actually work year-round outdoors.

This Disney Program offers everything from networking seminars to leadership workshops. As part of the program, students live and work inside the park, in order to further become acquainted with the company and receive a weekly paycheck. My job with Disney World? Lifeguarding, of course. While I won’t be assigned to an official guard post until I actually get to Disney, I’m excited that I’ll be earning money by guarding in a location like Blizzard Beach or the Walt Disney World Resort.

Even though lifeguarding will just be a part of my Disney College Program experience, it will undoubtedly be the most intense guarding I’ve done yet. Disney requires its lifeguards to become certified through Ellis and Associates, which according to the company includes everything from surprise auditing (testing guards without their knowledge to make sure they know how to scan and rescue properly) to its own style of water saves. I’m sure I certainly won’t remain a lifeguard for the rest of my life, but I’m happy I don’t have to give it up yet…maybe I’ll even save Mickey Mouse someday!


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Portrait of the Lifeguard Life

I've worked as a guard at the Bowling Green State University Recreation
andWellness Center for over a year. As this is my seventh year of guarding,
here's a video I produced on exactly why lifeguarding is more than a job.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time to Change

Lifeguarding can undoubtedly be a demanding job; it may take a toll on you physically, mentally, or even emotionally. From long hours spent under the hot sun or in a humid, chlorine-scented setting to constantly yelling at misbehaving kids and having to clean locker rooms or pool decks, guarding is far from a day at the beach.

Due to its very nature, lifeguarding should never be a 24/7 solo kind of job. Guards will likely change shifts or at the very least rotate positions or chairs while on duty. To maintain the highest level of safety and make for a smooth transition while alternating, it is of vital importance to communicate with your co-workers and always remain conscious of the aquatic environment around you.

In terms of rotating positions, always be mindful of the time if you’re the guard in charge of initiating it. Whether you change spots hourly or every 15 minutes, it’s essential and more effective to remain consistent during rotations—especially if one of those positions is the much desired “down guard,” who gets a brief break. During the actual maneuvers, establish which person will be in charge of keeping an eye on the pool if rotations involve climbing up or down a chair.

For changing shifts, the same above rules apply. In addition, always arrive to work on time and be ready to guard as soon as the previous shift is scheduled to be done. It should be standard protocol to ask the guard you’re relieving about any pertinent information about the swimmers, weather, or any other relevant knowledge. Sharing is definitely caring.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Operation Rescue

Although guarding lives is the primary responsibility of lifeguards, it is often one of the least experienced aspects for guards to practice on the job. If you become accustomed to working in an aquatic environment where your only interaction with H20 is sipping it from your water bottle, it is imperative to keep your guarding skills fresh in your memory.

Considering the fact that a lifeguarding certification can be considered current from on average anywhere from one to three years, it is your personal and professional responsibility to know how to respond to any potential drowning situation while on duty. Be able to immediately identify the type of victim you have and how to initiate your facilities EAP (Emergency Action Plan) appropriately and correspondingly.

Remember to notify at least one other person, be it a fellow guard or by-stander, that you’re entering the water and may need assistance. In addition, don’t forget to clear the pool or let other guards know they need to watch your area—the last thing anyone needs is another victim.

Though all rescues are of a serious nature, some are undoubtedly more intense than others. Active and distressed swimmers are typically the least extreme, since the patron is conscious. Passive victims are more serious, as they are in the water unconscious and may even become submerged. Potential spinal victims can result in the most dire consequences and knowledge of how to properly backboard is a crucial skill. So make sure you are continually refreshing your guarding expertise and stay up-to-date on emergency response protocol.