Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona (CHAGGERTY@ARIZBPA.BITNET)
Wed, 31 Jan 1996 21:56:00 MST
I am going to be short about this. (Sure you are, we know you
better than that! Short for Chris is still long by most standards.
:-) It is from the Health and Safety Notice published by the
American Red Cross and sent to its chapters and stations. It
states a lot more than this, but this is the short answer on Rescue
Techniques. I quote:
"The new Lifeguarding Program contains a number of changes from the
current program in both techniques and philosophy. One of the most
significant changes requires all rescues to be equipment-based,
both for the safety of the victim and the safety and ease of rescue
for the lifeguard. The equipment-based skills of the Lifeguarding
program are designed around the use of the rescue tube as the
lifeguard's primary piece of rescue equipment. The skills are
simple, easy to learn and to perform. They employ a rear approach
to the victim whenever possible, whether active or passive, and are
so similar that one basic technique serves the rescuer in most
"Previous lifeguarding rescue techniques, like previous CPR
techniques, were complex and focused more on individual skills than
on the outcome - the rescue of a victim. To ensure an effective
rescue, the lifeguarding psychomotor skills have been made as easy
as possible to perform. The front and rear escapes have been
eliminated. The lifeguard of today and tomorrow will ALWAYS enter
the water with the rescue tube. The rescue tube will consistently
be kept between the rescuer and the victim. Even if a guard
somehow is clutched by a distressed swimmer, the rescue tube can
easily support the weight of the two individuals."
Safer for the victim, safer for the rescuer. How can you argue
against that? Sure the world is not perfect and you will not
always have your rescue tube handy, but that is where learning to
improvise and think come into practice. Resourcefulness sure
sounds like it could fit in to the third Aim of Scouting.
(Development of physical, MENTAL, and emotional fitness.) As a
person who trains Red Cross Water Safety Instructors, I have to
agree with the Red Cross on this one. Too much emphasis on the
skills and not enough on the results. The results is what we want
to see. The students just do not have enough class time to retain a lot
of information during the short duration of most of these classes.
Most good Lifeguards are good, not from studying, but from
practicing at the facility where they work.
For those curious about the Red Cross Overview of the Lifeguarding
Training Course, here it is from the same notice.
"The Lifeguard training course focuses on the job of the lifeguard
in a swimming pool environment. This course will emphasize victim
recognition, surveillance, equipment-based rescues, and includes
first aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer training."
Note: There are also Waterfront and Waterpark module add-ons for
guards who will be working in those environments.
Yes, my flyers, pricing, etc... are all ready to go for my March
WSI course. Tomorrow they start going out to the Red Cross, City,
the High School, etc...
Ok, what do I really think. I think a lot of people upset with the
new methods are that way because a high level of technical skill is
no longer required to be a Lifeguard. The rescue tube makes it too
easy. Almost any good swimmer can do it now. They are no longer
special, because they can luge a 240 pound Chris Haggerty for 25
yards using the cross-chest carry. Lifeguarding is going to the
masses. While, it might not be quite that bad and it is still not
quite that easy ;-), the real bottom line is the opportunity for
MORE people to be better prepared to handle an aquatic emergency.
Yes, I will admit that being able to luge a 240 pound Chris
Haggerty for 25 yards using the cross-chest carry is not a bad
skill to have, but how many people will be frighten away from some
very useful training by such a prospect? I have been doing
lifeguarding activities for years now and I have never needed to
use the cross-chest carry. (Am I good at spotting trouble before
it escalates or what... nawww, probably dumb luck.)
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Cochise District Advancement Chairman, Catalina Council
Red Cross Instructor Trainer for Water Safety, Ft Huachuca Station
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City