I have a problem. 

There is a municipal facility Red Cross lifeguard instructor in my home town that I know is certifying kids in 2 days with little to no pool time and no books or videos. I was astonished the first time I Heard this from a lifeguard applying for a job with me. His lifeguards lack the knowledge to perform skills as simple as an active victim rescue with out problems and forget something like deep water back boarding or passive victim extrication. I have failed many of his staff that have come to my facility for either re-certifications for CPR or Lifeguard Challenges. They just cant do the stuff.

I'm unsure what can be done to keep his community safe, because the city government is too trusting of the instructor who has been running their pool for 25 years. It's a community of 2500 so the "good 'ol boy" system is well in effect and they are unaware of what he's doing. I want to help the people of my home town, because I'm well know for being an aquatics pro there. 

What can be done? 

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Great post, Chris. I've heard of this kind of problem from other aquatics pros. This is the kind of issue that can really lead to tragedy and serious liability. Can't wait to see what other pros have to say. Thanks for bringing it to the industry's attention!

I have the same situation here, and every time I hear of him teaching a class this way, I notify the local Red Cross Chapter.  One time I even included the link to the web page he was advertising on.  This instructor represents the ARC and should have his instructors certs taken away.  He is not only miss represnting the RC but he is putting everyone who uses the pools where one of his guards work at risk.  Can you imagine the law suit that would result and how bad the ARC would look if this came out?  If the local chapter won't do anything I would call National Headquaters.

The more I think about this the more pi**ed off I get so I'm going to stop now.

I'm with Bob on that one the Red Cross has the authority to pull his authorization if he is not teaching to the standard.

Thanks for the responses guys. 


We in the San Francisco area are memebrs of the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter. We have a Water Safety Task Force. It is comprised of myself and other leading ARCBA Instructor Trainiers from our area. We help mentor new IT candidates, perform Core training for those new IT's, and most importantly provide quality control for the area. We regularly receive these sorts of complaints and send out memebers of our task force to evaluate reported problems. The power to do this comes from our strong chapter H&S employee and MAPP, AP agreements and Instructor agreements. I suggest contacting the chapter and letting them know this is happening, if that doesn't work go to National as that is who ultimately settles appeals that get past the chapter level. Our group works, and in fact we have received 2 chapter awards in the past 4 years for "exemplary committment, teamwork and leadership". I also hear National is getting ready to help in the administration or functioning and policy of chapters so maybe that will help.
I agree that you need to start with your local Red Cross Chapter. The Sacramento Area also operates similar to how Jim explained what happens in the Bay Area. Might be a good suggestion to take to the Red Cross in your area. Good luck!
I would just add to Jim's comment that if you do not have a Water Safety sub-committee for your local chapter, then offer to help them form one by becoming a part of the committee. Recommend that they look at how other chapters, like San Francisco, are doing it and help them to get one established there.

Now that I am hearing that chapter control is going to the national office, how will we deal with this in the future I wonder...

A call to this guy's Health and Safety Director at his local ARC chapter would be in order.  It is bad instructors like this that give all training organizations a bad name.



Ditto all the advice.  You should contact the Oklahoma City Chapter, they cover your county.  They need to be aware of this issue.  Additionally, this is one reason that as employing agencies we should have stringent testing process the prospective employees must pass without failure, it weeds out both those who do not have the commensurate skills required and unfortunately for the prospective candidate brings forward the incompetence or lake of diligence of the instructor.

Thanks for the advice guys a call has been made to the OKC Red cross chapter in regards to this. I hope they follow up on it.


I am the Statewide Manager for Health and Safety in Oklahoma.  I have been made aware of the content of this blog and want to address your concerns as soon as possible.  Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss:  Kaylene Keener 918-831-1197 or kkeener@okredcross.org. 


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