News 4 Lifesaver

Apr 19, 2012 9:00 PM

Behind the scenes and under the water

TUCSON - The swim season is upon us and we are not the only ones committed to keeping kids safe. Lifeguards are also doing their part.

The city has over 200 lifeguards watching the swimming pools all over town. Kristi's Kids wanted to see the training they go through, take you behind the scenes and under the water.

"The City of Tucson requires the American Red Cross CPR for the professional rescuer or for a lifeguard," says Eric Rogers a Lifeguard instructor with the City of Tucson.

And you have to be a top notch swimmer. On the first day of class students go through a water fit test. They have to swim up to 500 yards using several different strokes and show they can tread water nonstop for 2 minutes. They also have to swim 20 yards and pick up a 10 pound brick in 10 feet of water.

The training takes about 36 hours over the course of a month.
Rogers has 21 years of experience.

"We really stress preventative lifeguarding, you know, this is kind of a last resort."

Lifeguards learn to look for people who can't swim well or who get fatigued.

"You have to recognize if they're losing steam," says Caitlin Berard, a returning lifeguard.

In the end when a swimmer gets into trouble these rescue drills will be life saving.

"Today we've been working on contact skills, rescues with or without a tube," explains Rogers.

In real life water incidents, the situations are unique. They expect the unexpected.

"We give them a lot of different options, different rescues that they can do depending on situations."

Sometimes the patient is unconscious and passive. Sometimes they panic and try to pull the lifeguard under.

"A lot of just swimming with weights and a lot of different rescue techniques you have to remember a lot but it's worth it," says Berard.

Something to keep in mind this summer you can hire a lifeguard for your private pool parties. Call the city Aquatics program for more information at 791-4245.


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