How life guarding started
The use of lifeguards on beaches in California began in the late 1930’s. The beach was inexpensive recreation in the post-Depression era. Communities grew around seasonal beach attendance. Transportation improvements made the beach accessible to the inland communities. The influx of swimmers into the surf-zone in Southern California leads to drowning on a sometimes massive scale: • Early 1900’s Newport Beach - 18 drowned in one weekend early 1900’s • 1918 - San Diego 13 people drowned in one day
What lifeguards do
A lifeguard, whether it’s on the ocean, inland, or at a swimming pool, is the person in charge of the safety of everyone near or nearby. This can mean a lot of things: save drowning victims, provide first aid, protect the environment, enforce all laws, or just provide directions. To accomplish this, lifeguards need to have a lot of skills at their disposal. They, of course, need to be very accomplished swimmers. This means being physically fit, regularly exercise, and comfortable in the water. They often need to face difficult swimming environments such as the ocean, which has cold temperatures, strong currents, waves, and animal life. They also need a lot of education in medical and practical matters. As they are often the first responders, they need a good amount of EMS training. This can mean the very well-known CPR, but it also means other skills such as tending to a wound or burn. Whatever the emergency, a dashing lifeguard will often be the first one to face it. For other emergencies such as a fire or a disabled boat, they have to know how to address and respond to the situation. Assistance in these areas not only saves lives, but also protects the environment. This can also mean specialized knowledge depending upon the area where they work, such as areas of high surfing activity versus boating activity. Once they have all of these internal skills, they need equipment to help them best serve the public. The most...
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