There have been key moments throughout my life when I've thanked my lucky stars I became a lifeguard.
Once when I was 16, I stepped in to teach the father of one of my students. This jovial man explained to me that he could do front crawl and just wanted to work on his breathing. He swam across the shallow end comfortably, so I asked him to swim to the other end. Halfway down the pool he looked up at me, his eyes grew wide and he began to drown. Turns out he’d never swam in the deep end before. I was momentarily confused, but then my training kicked in and I quickly rescued him.
A couple years later, a car turned into oncoming traffic outside the tourist information centre I worked at. I ran with my first aid kit to see if I could help. A middle aged lady had been hit head on in her car and a small crowd gathered around her. I did a quick assessment of the scene and she was obviously in shock. Her eyes were unfocused and she had a deep red welt on her forehead where it hit the steering wheel.
She muttered for someone to help her out of the car, but her legs were twisted at strange angles. They were probably broken and moving her could injure her further. As a bystander moved to help her from the car, I stopped him - she had to stay until the ambulance arrived. In addition to her legs, there was no way to know what internal or spinal injuries she had suffered. I held her hand and spoke to her to keep her conscious until the paramedics arrived.
Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross prepare you for a fun summer job, but they also do so much more. These courses change you (and your perspective). When I took my first course at 14, I wanted to look cool sitting on top of the lifeguard tower. That was seriously my motivation. But, just a few years into my career, my training had made me a valuable member of a lifesaving team - in many different scenarios. You might be the one to jump in the water to rescue a victim, but you also have teammates on deck to grab the first aid kit or clear the pool.
While the training can prepare you to be a hero, the most practical thing about lifeguard training is that it makes you an asset rather than a liability in an emergency situation.
I’m very grateful for the skills my training has given me:
- A sense of clarity - especially in emergency situations. A common response might be to panic or freeze, while lifeguards are trained to stay calm and act.
- Power to assess - Our training teaches us to look beyond the obvious so we can triage patients during an emergency. While our instinct might be to run to the aid of the loudest person, there can be others who need us more urgently.
- Ability to treat people - Without proper training it can be easy to further injure a person in trying to help them. Emergency First Aid gives you the skills to know what you CAN do in the moment, but also the knowledge to know what you shouldn’t do.
Whether you go on to be a lifeguard or have zero desire to sit on the lifeguard chair, this training comes in handy at the most surprising times. Bronze Medallion & Bronze Cross, while they’re the first steps to becoming a lifeguard, are so much more.
Do you have your Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross? We’d love to hear more about how these courses have helped you - in any area of your life! Share in the comments and join us on Facebook!