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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Lifeguard Community and Communication

Lifeguarding is simply a team effort. In an aquatics environment, it is very important to maintain proper communication with one’s co-workers. No matter what type of emergency a guard encounters on the job, having a working relationship with one’s fellow lifeguards can make a significant difference during a rescue situation.

For an active victim (a conscious drowning patron), the second responder can help the primary guard with everything from clearing the pool of other swimmers to aiding with the rescue; for example, if the drowning victim attempts to push the guard under the surface of the water in a panic during the save, the other lifeguard will be there to assist. With passive victims (an unconscious surface or submerged swimmer), a trained guard will be able help with getting the patron out of the water on a backboard, without causing further harm. During a potential spinal save—undoubtedly the most serious type of rescue—a fellow certified guard will be of inestimable value, as it takes more than one person to correctly backboard a swimmer with a possible head or neck injury, as the risk of intensifying a life or death health risk increases.

While lifeguarding does not mean you have to be best friends with those you work with, an amicable relationship allowing for appropriate communication is undoubtedly necessary. It is important to always make a concerted effort to get to know your fellow guards both on and off the pool deck, before an emergency situation occurs. It only makes a lifeguard’s job more enjoyable, and in turn makes that person more prepared, if a rescue does occur while on duty.

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