For lifeguards, it's not all fun in the sun
It is not all fun and games for people at the pool.
For lifeguards, it is their job to make the water safe and secure for all of the swimmers, and for those who just want to lounge around the pool.
“I have been around pools my whole life,” said Gretchen Hartman, pool manager at the Neosho, Mo., pool. “I started at the age of 16 as a lifeguard and wanted to become a lifeguard because I was a pool rat. I like being around the pool, I like being with the kids.”
There are 10 certified lifeguards and two working on their certification at the pool. Both men and women can become lifeguards, after the age of 15.
“They have to go through training, they have to swim so many laps, like freestyle and breaststroke,” Hartman said. “They have to learn their rescues, they have to learn spinals, back boarding, they learn CPR, first aid, tell kids if they are doing things wrong.”
Hartman was a lifeguard during college and kept on doing it. Since she has become a lifeguard, she has never been at a facility where anyone has drowned.
“(Being a lifeguard) is hard, because there is a lot of responsibility that they have on their shoulders and not only that, but if something happens, it really is a tough job. It is not an easy job. It is hot. We try to teach the guards that if we prevent things from happening to begin with, then we don’t have to rescue.”
When it is hot out, the lifeguards have a 40-minute rotation and then 20 minutes inside the admissions area. Then at 3 p.m., they have three guards out and two guards inside for break. Lifeguards come in at 11:30 a.m. and are at the pool until it closes.
Training is ongoing, Hartman said.
“We do in-services every other week,” she said.
For the last two years, Chase Barnes, 19, has been a lifeguard.
“I have always been interested in swimming. I thought that it would be a great job with something that I am interested in,” said Barnes. “I like little kids. I get along with the kids; it all works out.”
Barnes said the job is not just about putting on the red bathing suit and sitting on a chair above the water.
“Other than sitting on the stand and (watching) the water, enforcing the rules, such as walking, not running, also we learn our first aid,” Barnes said. “So if we do have a problem, we can take care of it. There is a lot of training that goes into it.”
Barnes has never had to use CPR at the pool.
“Thankfully not, but we do go over it every few weeks to touch up on it, to make sure that we have it all fresh in our mind,” Barnes said.
While on the stand, a lifeguard has to keep track of all of the swimmers in the pool. It is usually one guard per 25 people.
Neosho Daily News