According to a study done by the USA Swimming Foundation in 2008, nine people drown every day. The American Red Cross began offering training for lifeguards in 1914 in order to decrease the number of drowning incidents, and it continues to be a leader in lifeguard training and certification.
In order to become a certified lifeguard, you must be at least 15 years old. The Red Cross offers a program called GuardStart: Lifeguarding Tomorrow that prepares anyone age 11 to 14 years for becoming a certified lifeguard once of legal age. On the first day of a lifeguard certification class, all attendees must pass a swimming test in order to continue with the training. The swimming test usually involves a timed distance swim test and a test that gauges your ability to support weight while swimming.
There are four different types of lifeguard certifications provided by Red Cross. The lifeguard training will certify you to be a lifeguard at any traditional swimming facility or pool. If you would like to lifeguard at a lake, river or other open-water area, you must get the Waterfront Lifeguard Certification. Water-park Lifeguard Certification will train you to work in a water park with both multiattraction facilities and traditional pools. Finally, in case you would like to lifeguard at a kiddy pool or any facility that is no deeper than 4 feet, there is also a Shallow Water Attendant training course.
The Red Cross will train you in the most current techniques necessary to succeed as a lifeguard. You will learn techniques for scanning the water effectively. You will also practice rescues in which you will learn how to remove a victim from the water as quickly and safely as possible. At the end of your training, you will have to pass a skills test in order to earn your Lifeguard Certification.
All lifeguard certification courses include a certification course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If a drowning victim does not have a pulse, it is necessary to perform CPR while waiting for emergency medical services (EMS) to arrive. In addition, an automated external defibrillator (AED) can also be used. You will learn how to respond to an emergency situation like this in your CPR certification course.
Lifeguards are responsible for responding to any emergency that happens at their workplace. First Aid Certification is also a part of the Red Cross Lifeguard training. In the first aid course, you will learn how to respond to a patron's medical situation ranging from a heart attack to a scraped knee.
Your Lifeguard Certification, including your First Aid and CPR Certification, will be valid for one year. Once a year has passed, you will be eligible to take the renewal course if you would like to continue working as a lifeguard. It is important to keep up to date with any changes in the field, and your renewal course enables you to do this.
- Photo Credit empty lifeguard chair image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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