What Does a Lifeguard Do?
A lifeguard, whether it’s on the ocean, inland, or at a swimming pool, is the person in charge of the safety of everyone near or nearby. This can mean a lot of things: save drowning victims, provide first aid, protect the environment, enforce all laws, or just provide directions.
To accomplish this, lifeguards need to have a lot of skills at their disposal. They, of course, need to be very accomplished swimmers. This means being physically fit, regularly exercise, and comfortable in the water. They often need to face difficult swimming environments such as the ocean, which has cold temperatures, strong currents, waves, and animal life.
They also need a lot of education in medical and practical matters. As they are often the first responders, they need a good amount of EMS training. This can mean the very well known CPR, but it also means other skills such as tending to a wound or burn. Whatever the emergency, a dashing lifeguard will often be the first one to face it. For other emergencies such as a fire or a disabled boat, they have to know how to address and respond to the situation. Assistance in these areas not only saves lives, but also protects the environment. This can also mean specialized knowledge depending upon the area where they work, such as areas of high surfing activity versus boating activity.
Once they have all of these internal skills, they need equipment to help them best serve the public. The most basic and one of the most useful pieces of equipment is a watchtower. This can be a large structure with large binoculars or it can be as a simple as a very tall chair. Whatever the form, a watchtower is there to help survey the waters and quickly observe any accidents.
Once an accident does occur they need specialized equipment to help them take action. For small pools, this is often a large buoy to help drowning victims stay afloat and stay calm. These are great pieces of equipment since they are easy to carry, light, and save lives. Boats, for lakes and the ocean, may be a part of the equipment necessary to keep lives safe. LA County, as an example, keeps just 10, to patrol their waters. Depending upon their area, there may also be specialized equipment for boaters or surfers. Regardless of the form, there will always be some equipment available as a rescue attempt will only be performed as a last resort with no equipment.
Finally, to maintain the shore of the ocean or a lake, a lifeguard will use an assortment of flags and other communication equipment to keep swimmers and boaters aware of potential dangers.