How to Use Lifeguard Equipment


By maintaining your alertness and correctly using the necessary equipment, you can maximize the effectiveness of your lifeguard training. The whistle around your neck will get the most use, but your first aid kit and your rescue tube are equally important to doing your job well.

Things You'll Need

  • Whistle
  • Lanyard
  • First Aid Kit
  • Professional Quality Rescue Tube


  • Prior to mounting the lifeguard post for the first watch, be sure that you have all the equipment necessary to do your job effectively. You will need a whistle on a lanyard, a first aid kit, and your rescue tube.

  • Check the equipment. Your whistle should be loud enough to be heard above the pool noise. Your first aid kit should include a CPR breathing mask, gloves, and alcohol wipes. The rescue tube should be in good repair with its neck strap attached.

  • Correctly place your equipment for the most effective usage. Your whistle should be around your neck for instant access. You should carry your first aid kit in a handy fanny pack. If you will be standing on the pool deck, slip the strap of the rescue tube over one shoulder and hold the tube across your midsection. If you will be seated, hold the tube horizontally across your lap at all times with the strap loosely folded in your hand to ensure it will not catch on the chair during a rescue water entry.

Whistle Use

  • While on duty, hold the whistle in one hand as you scan your section of the water. When you see a swimmer who is acting unsafely, blow one short blast to get his attention. Follow up with a verbal warning.

  • If the swimmer does not discontinue the problem behavior, it may be necessary to summon your pool manager for assistance. Use your whistle to signal the manager with the prearranged code, usually three short blasts. The manager will attend to the problem while you keep your attention on the pool.

  • When you see an emergency situation that requires water rescue, stand up from your post and blow one long, loud blast on your whistle before entering the water. This will alert the other lifeguards and the pool manager that a rescue is in progress.

First Aid Kit

  • Whenever you administer first aid, wear the gloves from your first aid kit.

  • If a swimmer goes into respiratory arrest, place the CPR respiration mask from your first aid kit over the victim's nose and mouth and administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

  • If you are working with another lifeguard to administer CPR, or wish to spell a colleague with mouth to mouth resuscitation, sterilize the respiration mask with an alcohol wipe from your first aid kit.

Rescue Tube

  • For poolside rescue, kneel down and extend your rescue tube toward a swimmer who is having difficulty getting to the poolside. When he grabs on, gently pull him to safety.

  • For a water rescue, hold the tube tightly to your torso to keep your head above water as you make a running entry from the pool deck or jump in from a lifeguard chair.

  • With the float tucked securely across your chest and held with one arm, kick and stroke your way to the victim. When you reach her, grab her under the arms from behind, keeping the tube sandwiched between you. The buoyancy of the tube will hold her head above water.

  • Underwater, use the rescue tube to bring you and the submerged swimmer to the surface. Once you have entered the water, maintain a firm hold on the end of the rescue tube's strap as you submerge to reach the victim. Pull the tube with you to just below the surface. Grasp the victim beneath the arms, then push off toward the surface, still holding the strap of the tube. As you ease pressure on the strap, it will provide an extra pull as it bobs up to help you get the swimmer's head above water. Once you have surfaced, position the tube between you and the swimmer and transport him poolside.

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