Friday, 25 August 2017

Lifeguarding Course

I volunteer with Warm Current, which is a nonprofit that holds kids' surf clinics at coastal reservations on Pacific Northwest tribal lands. The tribes let us use their land and beaches to surf, so we return the favor by holding camps throughout the summer at several reservations along the Washington and Oregon coast. Its been pretty successful for a while now, but each camp has been getting larger and larger; our Neah Bay camp on the Makah reservation in Washington had about 60 kids show up at our last one a few weeks ago. We had so many kids we now hold two sessions; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

A few months ago, one of our leaders in Warm Current, Abigail asked me if I would take a lifeguard course with a few other people and I said yes. I started practicing swimming more and found out I wasn't as strong a swimmer as I had thought I was. I knew how to swim but I wasn't very disciplined about it if that makes any sense. After scheduling and then rescheduling because I felt I wasn't ready, I attended the course over the weekend of August 11-13 with a friend of mine who also surfs and volunteers with Warm Current.

Day 1
Day 1 was immediately the prerequisite testing to wash out anyone who wasnt a strong swimmer. This was a 300 meter swim without stopping; a 25 meter swim with a 7 foot surface dive to retrieve a 10lb dive brick, then swimming back 25 meters holding the dive brick on your chest. Last was treading water for 2 mins using only your feet and legs. Class was from 6:30pm until 10:30pm and spent about 3 hours in the water that night. Both Eric and I made the cut so we were back the next day.

Day 2
Day 2 spent a lot of time in the water learning rescue techniques in deep and shallow water, spinal stabilization, and CPR/AED certification. We spent at least 5 hours in the water with another three hours in the classroom. I ate so much food that day; I was hungry as the dickens from all of the activity. Lets have a look:

One brioche breakfast sammich

One biscuit and gravy

 Four bananas

3 cups of yogurt (Brown Cow is my favorite!)

Three deviled eggs

 Several cans of La Croix

Two cans of Monster Energy 

 One five inche quiche

One pint of rice pudding

Four cans of tuna

Day 3
We spent more time in the water and in the classroom learning CPR, deep water spinal stabilization, and rescue scenarios. At the end of the day we had our written test (35 questions, I passed), practical skills test in the water (I passed), and then I finished up my five hours of online coursework and online exam the next few days (I passed). As of now, I'm a Red Cross certified lifeguard. 

Eric taking the written exam

Passed the practical skills test and written test!

After this, I bought all of the gear I will need for lifeguarding at Warm Current kids camps: 
Fanny pack for my whistle, trauma scissors, vinyl gloves, and first responder mask, lifeguard buoy, breath valve mask, and sweatshirt.


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