LIFEGUARDING TIPS

 

This is the page where you will find free lifeguard tips.

Also below is a sections where you can add comments to tell your own exciting lifeguard stories. And if you have tips for others, here's where to share them. Also, if you have questions, raise them here and anyone can answer.

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Staying Alert – Lifeguarding And Scanning your Area

 

1. Establish Your Zone

Each lifeguard has a zone. First, establish what your zone is. Be clear on it. Weather it is the entire body of water, or partial. Make sure you discuss with other lifeguards or management which area is your zone. If you’re the only one guarding, then your zone is all of the area the patrons occupy. All lifeguards are to know their zone before they go on duty.

 

 

2. Establish Your Scanning pattern

We will talk about how to use your scanning pattern later, down below. First thing we do, is establish it here. What is your scanning pattern? Scanning is how you choose to scan the water. You have 2 choices to scan the water.

 

a) Scan Side To Side
Scan from side to side. From all the way to the left of your zone, to all the way to the right of your zone. Ones at the right side, you then scan back to the left. When first starting, start at the top of your zone. Keep scanning from side to side until you reach the bottom of your zone. Start from the top. Scan from side to side. Eyes going in a straight line, from side to side. Untill you reach the bottom of your zone.
 
b) Scan Top and Down
Scan top and down. From all the way at the top of your zone, scan to all the way down of your zone. Once at the bottom, you then scan back to the top. When first starting, start at the left of your zone. Keep scanning from from top to bottom, working your way to the other side of your zone (right side). Start from the left. Scan from top to bottom. Eyes going in a straight line, from top to bottom. Untill you reach the right side of your zone.

 

 

Some more tips on Scanning:

  • Now, remember, we haven’t even set foot on duty, yet. Before you even go on duty, know what zone you have. And know the scanning styles to do.
 
  • What is scanning exactly: Scanning is looking for patrons on the water that may indicate distress or drowning.
 
  • Even if you are not 100% sure that a someone may be in danger, investigate anyway. Go the safe route, always.
 
  • Scanning your entire zone should take no more than 10 seconds. Every 10 seconds, you are scanning your entire zone.

 

 

3. Putting It all Together – On Duty


a) Before you go on duty, know your zone that you will be guarding.

 

b) Before you go on duty, know the 2 scanning styles.

 

c) While you are on duty, First thing you do, is look at the bottom and under the water.

 

d) Then pick a scanning style. And keep alternating. From looking at the bottom or underneath the water and scanning the surface. So bottom, then scan the surface of your entire zone. Bottom then surface. And so on.

 

e) While you are repeating step d throughout your duty, move positions every 5 minutes. Meaning after 5 minutes, instead of sitting down, stand up and scan. So every 5 minutes change your body. Also, every 5 minutes, change your scanning style. Meaning instead of scanning up and down, scan from side to side. And vice versa. This will help you to stay alert.

 


4. More lifeguarding Tips


  • Another strategy in keeping your mind active and focused is to think about which patrons in your zone may be high risk, and visually make contact with those patrons and places during your scan. Some of these high risk people may include children. After you have made contact (eye contact), rehearse a rescue in your mind. Mentally prepare for the save for that individual.
 
  • Some places have it so that lifeguards can signal to each other that their zone is ok. Common signals to indicate that their zone is ok, is the thumbs up, or a raised rescue tube, or a short whistle blast. This is done every 5 minutes.
 
  • Our last time, your facility should have a rotating system. So that, if there is more than 1 of you, you are rotating. Someone comes over after a period of time, say (30 minutes) and takes your position and zone over. Then you move on to the next station, or possibly off for 30 minutes.

 

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 http://www.continentalpools.com/images/img-lifeguards.jpg

 

 

Importance of Preventing Rescues


     It's important to remember that the most important duty of a lifeguard isn't necessarily rescuing victims, the most important duty of a lifeguard is PREVENTING rescues from even happening. A good day of lifeguarding is 5 rescues 20 preventative actions However, a GREAT day of lifeguarding is 0 rescues and 100 preventatives! There is a 0% chance of a drowning when a rescue is PREVENTED from even happening. For example, when a diligent lifeguard notices a young child about to enter an ocean with potentially dangerous waves, he/she will run and stop the child from even touching the water. Even though it is "glamorous" for a lifeguard to have many rescues, it is in the best interest of both the public AND the lifeguard to prevent rescues. There is no worse feeling for a lifeguard to know that he/she could have done something to prevent a drowning.

 

-Tyler H

 

 

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Lifeguards

 

 

Four Basic Skills of All Lifeguards:


1) Physical fitness is a foundation of a successful and effective lifeguard. Although by no means do you have to be an Olympic Swimmer, you must be able to swim at a reasonable speed for lengthy periods of time. Along with sturdy swimming skills, you must be really relaxed in the water and be able to tread water for extended periods of time. You must also have enough energy to protect, tow, and sustain victims for brief to moderate amounts of time

 

 

2) Concentration and persistence in a distracting and Draining Environment. We’ve all looked at it; the beach that is jam-packed with hundreds of people doing all sorts of ‘interesting’ activities, all sporting bikinis and board shorts. The sun heats the beach to a nap-inducing temperature of 90F and there’s a continual sea breeze in the air. In a setting like this, it’s not difficult to allow your eyes take it easy and join the masses that are indiscriminately ‘people watching’ at the beach. Not for lifeguards. Despite all these distractions, it is paramount that lifeguards remain acute and attentive in their tasks. It can take LESS than a minute for a drowning to happen, so it’s critical to possess the power to focus on the job at hand.

 

 

3) Cool under tension and difficulty; the power to stay calm and comfortable in a hectic environment is a MUST for lifeguards. One moment in time you’re habitually scanning the pool and instructing little Johnny not to run, the next second you take a look across the pool deck and you witness an older man quickly grab his chest and fall unconscious to the ground. Can you take action adequately and keep cool in this ‘life or death’ predicament? Or will you break under the strain?

 

 

4) Communication skills as a lifeguard, the general population anticipates a lot from you. Whether someone would like to know the water temps or somebody is complaining about a child kicking sand in their face, you have to talk with the public in a proficient and hospitable manner. As your experience as a lifeguard increases, your capability to take care of the public’s requests and disputes will develop. It is important to keep a positive attitude and stay focused on the larger task at hand, especially when an upset beach goer is attempting to disturb from your duty with his/her complaints.

 

-Tyler H.

 

Thank you, Stay strong, alert, and safe

Please share your stories with us. We know that many lifeguards have many stories to share. Your story today will help and inspire a lifeguard tomorrow. See below. Add a comment.

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    Prioritization is something left out of this article. In a crowded environment, a lifeguard may be presented with multiple issues to handle at one time. It's important to correctly prioritize these objectives; ergo, don't pursue the thief when there's a child in the pool with a bloody nose. Make sure you don't ever take your eyes off the pool. We've all been there, there's someone attractive talking to you and you steal some looks, but whether you get her number or not, you cannot endanger your patrons for potential date. ALSO, it's important to assess the skills of your team. This doesn't just mean swimming, but many facilities go months without simple evaluations of their employees. Make sure they get their CPR Ratios correct. This is just as important as using an AED. I've found that one of the most overlooked topics at facilities is basic first aid. Make sure you stop the bleeding before slapping a band-aid on the wound. Rescues are different. Every guard is different and rescues a person loosely based on their training. Some have ways that work easier. it's important to mock rescue each other so that you can learn more efficient ways to rescue a victim. Last but not least, remember to practice your EAP frequently. Have EAP Drills during break. I've been a manager for years and i can't keep up with how many times I've seen green guards just hop in the pool without even alerting anyone of an emergency. It's easy to lose your cool in an emergency, but it's never acceptable to misconduct procedure.

    - ALBERT J. in LA, CA
    Mar. 3, 15 Reply to Comment

    Very well put together article. I plan to use it during inservice. I look for easy to read and to the point articles and this article is just right. Thanks

    - Kathy M. in Seward, NE
    Jun. 2, 13 Reply to Comment

    Great Post! It's important to remember that the most important duty of a lifeguard isn't necessarily rescuing victims, the most important duty of a lifeguard is PREVENTING rescues from even happening. A good day of lifeguarding is 5 rescues 20 preventative actions However, a GREAT day of lifeguarding is 0 rescues and 100 preventatives! There is a 0% chance of a drowning when a rescue is PREVENTED from even happening. For example, when a diligent lifeguard notices a young child about to enter a ocean with potentially dangerous waves, he will run and stop the child from even touching the water. Even though it is "glamorous" for a lifeguard to have many rescues, it is in the best interest of both the public AND the lifeguard to prevent rescues. There is no worse feeling for a lifeguard to know that he/she could have done something to prevent a drowning. For more info on lifeguarding and to find out what it takes to become a lifeguard, visit wwww.lifeguardhq.net! LifeguardHQ is your #1 resource for lifeguard training!

    - Tyler H. in Southern California, CA
    Mar. 5, 13 Reply to Comment

    Although lifeguards participate in many functions in many different environments, a lifeguard’s fundamental responsibility is: The protection and well-being of all visitors in the guarded area, in both land and sea, through unrelenting and applicable response. At the lowest, a lifeguard is practiced in first aid skills, rescue swimming, and public relations. At the finest level, a lifeguard is an seasoned EMT who performs a vast array of skills in many situations that may not even call for lifeguarding in the usual sense. These skills can include training in Code 3 Emergency Driving Techniques, Personal Water Craft Rescue, law enforcement, ATV operations and many other sophisticated abilities. The level of skills and experience that you will need in order to be recruited depends absolutely on the lifeguard role required and the lifeguarding surrounding you wish to enter. For example, someone who is interested in becoming a deckhand or driver on a high-speed rescue motorboat in Huntington Beach will need different accreditation than someone who is intrigued in a lifeguarding job at a local pool. In component to these features , its really suggested that you acquire these lifeguard training skills. Although all lifeguarding careers expect different skill sets, there are four basic skills that all lifeguards must develop : 1) Physical Fitness Physical fitness is a foundation of an successful and effective lifeguard. Although by no means do you have to be an Olympic Swimmer, you must be able to swim at a reasonable speed for lengthy periods of time. Along with sturdy swimming skills, you must be really relaxed in the water and be able to tread water for extended periods of time. You must also have enough energy to protect, tow, and sustain victims for brief to moderate amounts of time. 2) Concentration and Persistance in a distracting and Draining Environment. We’ve all looked at it; the beach that is jam-packed with hundreds of people doing all sorts of ‘interesting’ activities, all sporting bikinis and board shorts. The sun heats the beach to a nap-inducing temperature of 90F and there’s a continual sea breeze in the air. In an setting like this, it’s not difficult to allow your eyes take it easy and join the masses that are indiscriminately ‘people watching’ at the beach. Not for lifeguards. Despite all these distractions, it is paramount that lifeguards remain acute and attentive in their tasks. It can take LESS than a minute for a drowning to happen, so it’s critical to posses the power to focus on the job at hand. 3) Cool under Tension and Difficulty The power to stay calm and comfortable in a hectic environment is a MUST for lifeguards. One moment in time you’re habitually scanning the pool and instructing little Johnny not to run, the next second you take a look across the pool deck and you witness an older man quickly grab his chest and fall unconscious to the ground. Can you take action adequately and keep cool in this ‘life or death’ predicament? Or will you break under the strain? 4) Communication skills As a lifeguard, the general population anticipates a lot from you. Whether someone would like to know the water temps or somebody is complaining about a child kicking sand in their face, you have to talk with the public in a proficient and hospitable manner. As your experience as a lifeguard increases, your capability to take care of the public’s requests and disputes will develop. It is important to keep a positive attitude and stay focused on the larger task at hand, especially when an upset beach goer is attempting to disturb from your duty with his/her complaints. If these characteristics match your personality, it's highly recommended that you look into a career in lifeguarding! To learn more about what it takes to become a lifeguard and to start your lifeguard training today, visit LIFEGUARD HQ LifeguardHQ is the #1 resource for lifeguard training, info, and job opportunities. Start today!

    - Tyler H. in Souther California, CA
    Mar. 5, 13 Reply to Comment

    Good morning I am a parent and I learned a good lesson on skaning the area where you are swiming you can see if anyone is in danger weather your a lifeguard or not. Thank you very much.

    - Madeline c. in suitland, MD
    Feb. 25, 13 Reply to Comment

    Everything here is sound advice but remember this- if there is a serious incident like a resusication or a spinal injury management happening other swimmers may be still in the water. on my beach we always have 1 lifeguard in the tower no matter what. this saved a few peoples lives last time we had a resus.

    - ciarán f. in dublin, Ireland
    Mar. 31, 12 Reply to Comment

    Scanning the pool works. OK. Always make sure the kids can swim before letting them in the deep end. Sounds like a no brainer, I know. Well it did happen to me. That a kid who did not know how to swim went in the deep end of the pool. He jumped in the deep end off a diving block. He did not know how to swim and went straight down. And did not come back up. Well there were about 100 kids swimming in the pool that day. I was on duty lifeguarding. I did not see him jump off the diving block. And I did not see him go down. I was standing on the edge of the pool being very attentive at all kids. I did make it a point to look at the bottom of the pool periodically. So one of the times I looks down (10 feet deep pool), I saw a kid hanging out. I was half sure that he needed help. I went in anyway. I went down to the bottom. And grabbed him. He grabbed me right away. Then I was sure he needed help. Then I pushed off the bottom with my feet. We both came up fast. He grabbed a deep breath. I said to myself, "Oh thank God, he's alive." We got out of the water. The other lifeguard on duty came over to attend to him. I was in slight shock and started lifeguarding the other kids while she was attending to him. It was my first real and only save. The lesson here is a good lifeguard never really has to go in the water. Preventave is first. Be alert. Know what is happening. And know who is going in the water and their abilities.

    - Sead P. in Huntington Beach, CA
    Mar. 4, 11 Reply to Comment

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