07/12/2013 -- Students learned to identify the signals of an aquatic emergency and the skills necessary to respond with confidence during lifeguard certification training offered here recently.
The lifeguard certification training is a 40-hour course for individuals, 15 and older, which includes training in areas such as rescuing a responsive or non-responsive person in the water; resuscitation of an adult, child and or infant; applying first aid techniques and other tasks, according to Elisabeth Allen, aquatics manager, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
“An emergency can arise at any moment and these skills can help save a life,” Allen said. “With so many aquatic environments, it’s critical to be able to think fast and respond to an aquatic emergency.”
Because many of the tasks require physical stamina, students must demonstrate a certain level of physical fitness prior to taking the course, she noted.
“Each participant must be able to swim 300 meters continuously, tread water and retrieve a 10-pound brick from the bottom of the pool,” Allen said.
“They must then return to the shallow end with the brick on their chest,” she added.
During the course, students were required to demonstrate proficiency in each area of training by successfully passing three written and one skills test.
One portion of the skills test required participants to correctly remove a non-responsive victim from the pool. Each step, from properly getting the victim onto a rescue board to stabilizing the victim and then removing a victim from a pool was carefully observed and critiqued by Allen.
Once they have completed this training, “I want the participants to have the confidence and the skills to recognize and respond to an emergency in an aquatic setting,” Allen said.
After becoming certified, American Red Cross standards dictate re-certification every two years. Allen said the base pool offers training sessions annually to meet that requirement.
“I think this training is very important because what I’ve learned here may be used to save someone’s life,” Cpl. Franklin Good, administrative specialist, MCLB Albany, said. “This is not just for lifeguards. People with this training may just be on the beach and see someone in trouble. They would be able to assist or even save a life. That’s important.”
The skills taught in this course are invaluable and because of its importance, the course is offered to active-duty Marines at no cost, Allen said. All others can take the course at a discounted rate, to be determined at a later date.
Allen said they have completed the last session for this season, but sessions are held each year in early summer.