Lifeguards hit the water for rescue training

Jul 6, 2021

A swimmer was reported in distress at Round Hill Beach.

Lifeguards called 911, provided the information that was needed quickly and concisely, cleared the water of other swimmers and headed out to find the person.

That’s what happened June 30, but it wasn’t a real scenario. 

The town lifeguards participated in training with members of STAT Ambulance Service and Fire District No. 1 to work on the teamwork and logistics needed for a quick and successful rescue, said Parks and Recreation Director Tim Lancaster.

The town hosts this training every year early in the beach season, he said.

The session was especially crucial this year, Lancaster said. The town’s beaches currently face a shortage of guards and all but three of those hired are new to the position.

“We want to get folks out there’’ learning, the parks director said.

None of the material was new to the lifeguards, as they practice rescue scenarios and other situations during their certification training.

“They’re all certified lifeguards,’’ Lancaster added. “They know what to do.’’

But reviewing these scenarios, particularly in the location where the lifeguards are working, brings an important sense of realism.

By interacting with the fire and ambulance personnel, Lancaster said, the three agencies get to know each other and recognize faces for when an emergency happens at the beach.

“It’s a great overall training opportunity for the three agencies,’’ he said. “The kids always get something out of it.’’

One of the biggest lessons from the session, the parks director said, is that every second counts. A person suffering cardiac arrest needs immediate treatment from the lifeguards until fire and ambulance personnel can arrive.

That can take a while, Lancaster said, because Round Hill is located some distance away from much of the town.

He noted that the wait can be “longer than they think,’’ which makes their response all that more important.

“They get that benefit of reality,’’ Lancaster added.