Tools for Lifeguard training
A number of new philosophies are emerging on how lifeguards should scan pools for potential problems.
In the video Disappearing Dummies (available from Aquatic Safety Research Group, firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-234-0313), lifeguards are shown the importance of scanning a pool from the bottom to the surface. The video demonstrates how the disturbance of the water surface causes a submerged dummy to actually disappear from sight.
This video also brings to light an emerging cause of drowning called Shallow Water Blackout. This occurs when good swimmers hold their breath too long while swimming underwater and pass out.
An excellent technique in training new (or apprentice) lifeguards is for an experienced lifeguard to stand beside the trainee and have the trainee verbalize what she sees and what she is looking for in the way of swimmer behaviors. This reinforces the concept that the lifeguard must not just look at the swimmers but also constantly evaluate their abilities and risks. The experienced lifeguard can then evaluate how well the trainee is actually scanning and correct gaps in technique. This training technique works well for both pools and lakes.