Purpose: Give your lifeguards a chance to practice their signals, communication, and rotation without getting wet or doing rescues. Practice the minor and major emergency procedures without actual victims.
Description: The class is broken up into teams of 2 or 3. Make sure you give them experience at both 2-man team and 3-man team formations.
Each team positions themselves as if they were guarding the pool. The team members, one at a time, pretend to have minor and major emergencies, and signal the appropriate signal to their team.
The other lifeguards must give recognition, cover the pool, back-up the rescuer, clear the pool, etc. The rescuer crouches to simulate their rescue.
The teams should be prompted to communicate and evaluate themselves constantly with regards to their rotations, communication, and patrolling. The candidates must yell out every single job that they are doing as they do them, the imaginary patient types, and tell each other what they are supposed to be doing.
Purpose: To improve the lifeguard's scanning ability.
Description: The class is broken up into teams of 2 or 3 with one team on deck at a time. The rest of the class is in the water and will change their facial expression in an obvious manner (smile), in a random pattern throughout the facility.
The lifeguards on deck must whistle and identify the expression on the person's face. If a person is missed, they should call out that they were missed.
A variation would be for the lifeguard to have to reach and touch the smiling person wherever they might be,
on deck or in the water.
The victim should start counting when they begin smiling,
hold the facial expression until touched and tell the lifeguard how long it took them.
Purpose: To practice clearing the pool effectively in case of an emergency. This helps avoid further casualties and clears the scene for the rescue.
Description: With the candidates at one end of the pool, they must blow one long blast and clear the pool in a clear, professional manner.
Practice having them walk quickly to back up the other lifeguard as they clear the pool. No running is allowed as this could lead to nasty accidents.
Another variation would be to have them at opposite ends of the pool
and attempting to yell and communicate over some type of loud noise.
Purpose: To practice the assessment and treatment of a first aid patient in a competition setting.
Description: Do this in groups of 3, 1 lifeguard, 1 victim, 1 judge.
The lifeguard approaches the casualty as if the entire team has finished their group scene assessment. The lifeguard is responsible for completely assessing the casualty and treating the main complaints at the appropriate time.
The judge has a detailed checklist of assessments, check for shock, vital's sheet evaluation, etc. If the treating lifeguard skips a single thing, the rescue stops and the three lifeguards rotate through. When that original lifeguard is back up to rescue, they rescue the same type of victim as before.
This goes on until that lifeguard can do the complete assessment checklist and treatment without missing a beat or until the time limit (say 4 minutes) has run out.
Then, the next time they are up, they deal with a different victim type.
This will improve a lifeguard's ability to deal with whatever type of victim they have without freezing,
wasting time, and not getting valuable assessment and treatment points quickly and effectively.
Purpose: To improve the fitness level of the lifeguards in a different sort of way that also works on the distressed non-swimmer rescue skill.
Description: One lifeguard team of approximately 3 to 4 lifeguards are on deck guarding. While the lifeguards are on duty, a large number of non-distressed non-swimmer victims occur, one right after another. A good average is about 1 victim for every 10 to 15 seconds.
The lifeguards must secure the victim at the nearest edge at which point, the lifeguard can leave the victim to go get another one.
The entire purpose is to never allow the lifeguards any breathing or resting time. Rapid fire non-swimmers in the name of the game. About 3 to 5 minutes is more than enough time for any group of lifeguards.
Variation: One variation that works on communication skills under duress is to insist that the lifeguards must make a proper signal to a fellow team-mate and get adequate recognition from that team-mate prior to entering the water to get a victim.
This recognition must be received no matter what the situation is, even if the fellow lifeguard is in the middle of a rescue. This forces the lifeguards to be paying attention to their team, regardless of what they are doing.