Re: No Subject
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 10:12:46 -0500
>From: "Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona"
>"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.
I think these two paragraphs indicate why we are even having this
discussion. It seems clear that the Red Cross is no longer teaching
LIFESAVING skills, but rather LIFEGUARDING skills. The difference is that
the latter teaches you how to function in the employment arena as a
lifeguard, whereas the BSA is trying to teach how to rescue in an aquatics
emergency that may not occur while employed (professionally or otherwise)
in a controlled aquatics environment where equipment will most certainly be
It is certainly necessary to teach, even in the lifesaving mode, the skills
necessary to safely perform rescues using the latest equipment that is
likely to be available when working at a pool or lake waterfront which is
fixed. However, under the BSA safe swim defense plan aquatics activities
take place safely in many other types of environments which most likely
would not be so equipped. Also, because a Scout is prepared he should be
in a position to know what to do safely even if the emergency occurs (and I
believe this is the more likely scenario) outside any sort of controlled
With that philosophical difference in goals understood I would be very
surprised (and extremely disappointed) if the BSA dramatically changed the
requirements for lifeSAVING merit badge to eliminate the instruction on
what to do if the latest equipment is not handy.
>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 lug 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.
I don't doubt that this is part of the reason for some of the complaints
about the RC changes to their program, but I believe it is irrelevant to a
discussion in the BSA context.
Bruce E. Cobern
Dan Beard District
Queens Council, NY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City