Life of a Lifeguard: Safety at forefront at Helen P. Brown Natatorium

August 26, 2019

 

 

FORT WAYNE, Ind. –  Helen P. Brown Natatorium’s lifeguard program is a significant part to aquatics safety, and the natatorium is looking for more lifeguards to join the staff.

“Our singular mission is zero drownings,” Liz Caywood, HPB Natatorium director, tells ParkviewSportsMedicine.com. “We want to make sure that every guest who comes into our facility has a great time and a safe time.”


Lifeguards at Helen P. Brown pratice water rescue exercises during a bi-monthly in-service

More than 20 lifeguards watch the waters of the 43,000-sq. ft. facility. The meaningful undertaking is accompanied by great responsibility and continued training to keep lifeguards ready at all time.

“With our in-services we hold two times a month, our skills are always in-tact,” lifeguard Quantavious Bagley says. “We want to make sure that the lifeguards can build that trustful relationship with the guests, so they will be comfortable coming in and swimming.”

Bagley was inspired to become a lifeguard after taking swimming classes as student at South Side High School. Now enrolled at the University of Saint Francis, Bagley has been a HPB lifeguard for the last 2 years.

The lifeguards at the natatorium go through several hours of in-service training per month, testing their rescue skills, pro-active prevention, vigilance awareness and muscle memory. The repetition and practice are designed to keep the lifeguards prepared for an array of potential emergency situations.

 

“Regardless of being in or out of the water, there are other scenarios that they can help me with,” lifeguard Keiora Goodwin says. “Diabetic scenarios that I know. If somebody was to start choking--a child, or infant or an adult--I learned all three of those scenarios.” Goodwin, who will be a junior next year at South Side, has been a lifeguard for just less than a year.

A cornerstone of the lifeguard program at Helen P. Brown Natatorium is the 10/20 Protection Rule, which stresses the importance of those first 30 seconds someone may be struggling in the water. A lifeguard performs a constant 10-second scan of his or her zone, which natatorium officials say is the approximate length of time someone struggling at the surface of the water has before going under. The lifeguards are taught they then have 20 seconds to reach someone and render aid, an approximate length of time before the person underwater loses consciousness.


Helen P. Brown Natatorium lifeguards continually practice and review different rescue scenarios

“The quicker the response, the better the outcome is going to be,” Cody Meyer, natatorium supervisor adds. “Safety is the first thing that pops into our heads. Whatever choices we make, we want to be sure that the lifeguards and the patrons are safe.”

Those interested in becoming a lifeguard at HPB must be 15 years old. Training is free, with the next public lifeguard training session scheduled for July 29-31. The deadline to register is July 22. More information is available at HPBNatatorium.com or by calling 260.467.2660.

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