I did something today I should have done when I was 16.  No… not ask out that girl in my biology class.  I tried that and it didn’t work.  No, today I became a certified Lifeguard.  It’s always been on my bucket list.  I wanted to know all the moves and entries in the water, the beach run in slow motion, etc.  It turns out that most of my 2 day training was spent jumping into the pool.  I had no idea that there were so many “entries” and certain times when you’re supposed to use them.  There’s also a lot of tricky moves in the water.  I liken it to square dancing where you grab the arm of your unconscious partner and swing them around in a dosey doe to get them on their back.  If they’re floating face first toward you, you need to flip them over and place your rescue tube under their back.  If you find them face down away from you, you basically jump on their back and do a crocodile roll to drown them again, until you’re on your back and their head is intimately resting next to yours.  Then there’s the whole issue of when someone is actively drowning and they panic and try to pull you under.  Instead of struggling, you’re supposed to take them under the water with you and as they begin to drown they will let go.  It’s basically a way of saying, “Really?  Who’s the better swimmer?  Let’s find out!”  I learned a lot this weekend.  Here’s a couple of words of wisdom:

  1. If you’re going to jump from the lifeguard tower and it has wheels, you may want to have someone hold the back of it or have it heavily sandbagged.  Otherwise, the lifeguard will also need rescuing.
  2. If you weigh over 230 lbs and you need to be rescued by someone under 140 while you’re submerged in deep water, you may make it out of the water but probably not breathing.  No offense to the 15-year-old waterpark heroes, but I know I’m a gonner if I go under.
  3. The written test mentioned something we never discussed in class:  Accidental Fecal Release.  An (AFR) in the pool.  I hope I never find out what this really is, but apparently you have to close down the whole pool and it’s one reason I’ll probably never actually work as a pool lifeguard.

Being a Lifeguard is a useful skill that goes well with my EMT license. I admire those who work in lifesaving jobs every day.  I once gave CPR to a woman and once stopped a girl from drowning and I’ll remember those as life-changing experiences.  Those who deal with traumatic crisis day-in and day-out are made of some tough metal!  BTW- that is NOT me in the photo.  I am currently too pasty white to be photographed.