NOT RESCUE READY

This page is a collection of real, not posed, photos of lifeguards on duty who are not ready to do a rescue, and equipment/facilites also not rescue ready, for discussion in my lifeguard training classes.

From the 2017 American Red Cross Lifeguard Manual: “When performing patron surveillance, always keep the rescue tube ready to use immediately.

Keep the strap of the rescue tube over the shoulder and neck.

Hold the rescue tube across your thighs when sitting in a lifeguard chair or across your stomach when standing.

Hold the excess line to keep it from getting caught in the chair or other equipment when you move or start a rescue.”

A lifeguard at a national park pool using her rescue tube as a footrest
instead of having it in her lap, ready for use,

lifeguard at national park pool using rescue tube as a footrest:

As I watched this pool briefly I saw two other guards demonstrate that they were bored: one was twirling his whistle, and another absentmindedly tapped her rescue tube in her lap as if it were a bongo drum.

When some of these guards rotated and changed positions they did not make certain that the pool zone was being watched by at least one of them the whole time.

_________________________________

Ken Mignosa took the photo on the left Saturday, July 22, 2006 at the JSSL (Junipero Serra Swim League) Championships his son was competing in. The photo on the right is at a national park hotel swimming pool. There were only a few people swimming that morning. The third and fourth photos were shot at a different national park pool in 2010. When the lifeguard came on duty (the only guard on duty) there were two people swimming laps. When she got out a book and started reading one swimmer got out of the pool to take the picture.

In all cases perhaps the guards were overconfident about the swimming skill of the pool patrons?

Ken Mignosa photo Saturday, 22 July, 2006 JSSL (Junipero Serra Swim League) Championships: lifeguards talking with each other while on duty: two lifeguards sitting in deck level chairs with their rescue tubes on the ground, talking with each other while on duty

national park pool 2010: one lap swimmer and the only lifeguard on duty sitting in a lounge chair at poolside reading a book with her rescue tube drapped across the end of the lounge chair lifeguard reading a book while on duty: lifeguard reading a book while on duty

In American Red Cross Lifeguarding we read: “Drowning and injuries can happen in an instant”

and

“Distractions … affect patron surveillance: for example, a lifeguard talking with other lifeguards or friends. A brief conversation might seem innocent, but during that time you could miss the 20 to 60 second struggle of a young child. The child could die because you were distracted. You should not engage in social conversations while you are on duty.”

_________________________________

On the left, at a California State University, a lifeguard on duty with her feet on her rescue tube. My students tell me they have seen guards at this facility with their feet on their rescue tube AND talking on a cell phone AND eating lunch, at the same time. To the right, a lifeguard at a California Bay Area private university, with their feet on their rescue tube instead of having the tube ready to go in their arms.

The lifeguards are often on duty alone and responsible for an entire Olympic sized pool, about 25 yards by 50 meters. There is no position you can guard from at that size of pool that allows you to see the entire surface and bottom of the pool.

april 7 2007 lifeguard at SJSU with feet on rescue tube: Avery Aquatic Center lifeguard with feet on rescue tube:

The person who took the next photos (a lifeguard) was attending classes held in the pool. This lifeguard on duty at a University of California campus is sitting far up in the pool side bleachers and can’t see the whole pool bottom. He would not be able to get to the water quickly to do a rescue, and would seem to have his eyes on something in his lap rather than on the water (see closeup on the right).

uc davis lifeguard male up in bleachers: uc davis lifeguard male 2008:

In this last photo we can see that the lifeguard is sitting on his rescue tube:

UC Davis lifeguard sitting on rescue tube:

At a private club in Santa Clara County, July 2009, the person who took these photos (a lifeguard) was visiting the pool as a patron. He reported watching as guards on duty chatted with friends and played catch with a football:

lifeguard tossing football: A lifeguard on duty at a pool tossing a football. His rescue tube is on the ground in front of him. private pool Cupertino lifeguard July 2009 not rescue ready: a lifeguard is not rescue ready, sitting with his rescue tube at his feet as a footrest lifeguard not rescue ready July 2009 Cupertino private pool: a lifeguard not rescue ready, his rescue tube at his feet

A relative of one of my lifeguard training graduates sent this photo of a guard on duty at a Las Vegas hotel:

Las vegas hotel lifeguard with feet on rescue tube: Las vegas hotel lifeguard in a stand on duty with his feet on his rescue tube instead of having the tube ready for a rescue

_________________________________

This photo of a lifeguard at a local high school was taken on an iphone, so it was difficult to enlarge the close-up, but the end of the red rescue tube is visible under the guard’s jacket he has draped over his legs on a cold morning, June 2011.

fremont high school lifeguard: pool with lifeguard on dutyfremont high school guard in stand: closer view of lifeguard on duty in stand with parka wrapped around him and his feet on his rescue tubefremont high school lifeguard close up: close up of lifeguard on duty in stand with rescue tube under his feet

Below a picture of a pool office with a big corner window that would allow the manager to watch the guards/patrons/lessons, except that it has so many flyers posted in the windows, and a big display just outside, that the view is blocked.

flyers in window block view of pool:

_________________________________

How long do you suppose this backboard has been sitting out in the sun unused at a local private swim school for the velcro to warp and this many cobwebs to form? How long since they did any in-service training (practice) with it? Where do you suppose the head immobilizer is?

backboard with cobwebs: backboard with cobwebs

_________________________________

Guards need to guard from stands or the edge of the deck where they can see the whole surface and the entire bottom of the area they are responsible for.

Here’s a job offer on craigslist:

“Certified Lifeguard at Private Club

Date: 2006-11-27, 1:50PM

XYZ Tennis & Swim Club is looking for a CPR, first aid and water safety certified lifeguard for hours at the xyz Rec pool in Xyz Valley. Hours are flexible, however we are primarily looking for morning (approximately 7 – 9am) or evening hours (6 – 8pm). There may be a need for some mid-day and weekend hours as well if you are interested.

Duties include opening and closing the pool, signing-in and supervising recreational lap swimmers, covering the pool at night, testing the pool chemicals at least once during a shift, and some light maintainence.

The pool is located in a quiet rural area, and there are usually no more than 4 – 5 lap swimmers in the pool at a time. There is also a large pool office from which the pool can be monitored during bad weather.