Parents can rest assured that their children will be safe swimming in community pools this summer as local lifeguards have recently undergone extensive training to freshen up their rescue skills and ensure they can cooperate properly with emergency responders in crisis situations.
The Pitman High School pool in Turlock was splashing with lifeguards Friday morning as over 100 individuals turned up for the third annual California Park and Recreation Society's Aquatic Inservice Training for District Five lifeguards which includes those from the cities of Ceres, Turlock, Modesto, Patterson, Escalon, Riverbank, Manteca and the Stanislaus County Police Activities League. By rotating through three sessions, the group of lifeguards spent time in the pool brushing up on timed shallow water rescues and deep water rescues as well as practicing CPR.
"This is an opportunity for the staff to enhance their skills, speed and response time in the event of an emergency," said Karen Packwood, recreation senior supervisor for the City of Turlock.
This is the third annual regional training for lifeguards but the first time it has taken place in Turlock. This also marks the first time that the Ceres and Turlock Fire Departments were present along with a team of American Medical Responders to train the lifeguards on the importance of their role as the first responders in pool emergencies.
"The lifeguards are practicing CPR skills and brushing up on what to do when an ambulance crew arrives which is really important because if the lifeguard is not trained well then we have to start over from go when we arrive," said Jonathan Goulding, captain of the Ceres Fire Department.
The lifeguards not only practiced skilled they learned in their certification process, but discovered more nuanced techniques from Pete DeQuincy of the East Bay Regional Park District, a veteran lifeguard of 30 years who worked with the Red Cross to develop current lifeguard course curriculum.
"The lifeguards are motivated and they want to be here to learn and work as a team which is integral to lifeguarding," said DeQuincy.
The training has nearly doubled in size since its inception, a testament to the effectiveness and interest of local lifeguards.
"As a lifeguard you never stop training but today's been a reality check because you realize that in what you do as a lifeguard time is of the essence and you're still learning new things," said Isaac Sada, an 18-year-old lifeguard from Ceres.
The California Park and Recreation Society's Aquatic Inservice Training was made possible by the sponsorship of Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, Lincoln Aquatics, Knorr Systems, Inc. and Pizza Guys.
"It's a collaborative effort that's for sure and it's our biggest and I feel most important training," said Traci Farris, president of CPRS District 5.