We recently hired a rookie lifeguard that was fresh out of her training.  When I asked how she did in training and where it was, she revealed to me some shocking information.  She informed me the location and where,(lets keep that information a secret for now), and that the class was only two days long.   "WHAT?" I replied, "two days???" 


As I recall, most lifeguard courses are no shorter than 24 hours of training.  ARC is, from I can rememeber now, 31 hours.  Now those of us that are instructors have done the shortened versions but have never cut more than 3 or 4 hours out of the course.


The entire class she took was no more than 15 hours.  One day they watched videos and the next, they did senarios.  She even told me they didnt take a written test.  She couldnt even remember the instructors name or a way to get in contact with him.


We brought her into a regular staff inservice and to my surprise, she was excellent at her rescue and CPR skills.  But she had also been a swimmer and was enrolled in EMT courses.


I feel that as an operator that usually hires staff that was trained at another facility, I should be very concered about the quality of training my new hires have.


So here is the question.

Should I approach the ARC chapter that this instructor is under and inform them of this issue?






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YES! Absolutely go to the Red Cross Chapter and report this. I have encountered these situations before and, unfortunately, these "guards" weren't all that great. Luckily we do pre-hire screening and have caught them. These instructors are not only doing the students a disservice, they are endangering the public. If a guard is not ready to guard, and don't get pre-hire tested, they are guarding someone’s life and may not know how to react properly.
Definetely, we don't need guards who can't guard. It isn't only a risk to patrons but the other guards as well. We also do prehire testing and it weeds out the people who cannot do the skills to atleast the objective.

The shortest I've done a course is 4 days, 8 hours per day, and that was pushing it.
Yes, you should report them to their Red Cross Chapter. I had a couple of guards come in about 4 years ago to recertify. They did not come with their suits. It totally blew my mind. When I asked them how they thought they recertified they had no clue. Once I explained the process to them they said, “you mean we have to get in the water? We didn’t even get in the water for our original training.” I almost died right there. These so called lifeguards had been working for 3 years and had never been in the water. We put them through a full class and go them squared away…its amazing how much they learned. We also reported this instructor to our chapter and now that instructor is no longer allowed to teach. Apparently there had been other complaints about her training style.
Its great you got lucky and you actually ended up with a good guard after all. Just think of how many improperly trained guards this instructor has made, and how many facilities may not have trainers on staff to test their skills. I know around here the small town pools do not have instructors or managers that know much more than how to unlock a door. Imagine the danger the swimmers could be in the hands on an improperly trained lifeguard. I think its your duty to report it to the chapter.
You should most certainly report this matter to the Red Cross. This Instructor is threatening the lives of potentially thousands of patrons in your area if that is how they "train" Lifeguards My motto as an LGIT and Operator is "the card doesn't make the Guard" this LGI is doing a horrible disservice to the Red Cross, their LG students, and the people of your community. I agree with Robin it sounds like you got the diamond in the rough of that group, luckily.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. My first reaction was to report this person as well. I felt that maybe nothing would happen anyway. I did come up with the same reasons for letting some one know.

Thanks Again,
Hi Jessee,

I would agree with Bob and check into it, especially because she said she didn't take a test. The ARC does allow for Challenge Courses to be taken, even if the participant has never taken the course before. This of course shortens the length of the course. They do have to pass on the first take, or the participant has to take the entire course. Based on what you said about her not taking a test though, that is suspicious.

Jim Reiser, M.S.
Lifeguard Instructor - Central South Carolina Chapter

In late 2008 the ARC changed their policy on the Challenge Course to specifically state that in order to be eligible for a Challenge the participant must have been a certified ARC or equivalent Guard that is no more than 12 months expired. They did this at the same time they split CPR/AED Pro into CPR/AED for Healthcare Providers and CPR/AED for Lifeguards. Also part of the Challenge curriculum includes all three sections of the written test. I'm skeptical that this LGI was running a challenge course. I'm skeptical that this Instructor was doing anything legit at all, Challenge Course or otherwise.
The rational behind not allowing participants who have never been certified as a lifeguard to take the challenge course was the emphasis put on scanning and recognition. From recent studies that has proven to be a leading cause of drowning, the failure for the lifeguard to scan effectively and recognize a victim that is in need of assistance. Participants who have never been certified need to learn the importance of what scanning is, how to scan, and what are the characteristics different types of victims; the challenge course does not teach them these important aspects of lifeguarding.
Is is scary how some instructors are just in it for the money. I am sure they paid the full price for the shortened class. Thus the instructor made alot of money per hour.
Lousy Instructors? lack of Quality control? You are kidding right?
YES!!! Absolutely! RUN, do not walk to the nearest telephone and call the area ARC Chapter and report your findings. They will do an investigation, most likely contact the students, as well as the instructor involved. If there is an issue, the ARC Chapter will revoke that LGI's certification. The LG certification course is too important to the safety of our pool patrons (and your LG company providing LG services to any pool) to have ANYONE, let alone any ARC certified LGI, to be taking shortcuts in course hours, course content, or testing. To not report this issue would be condoning the practice, as if you took the "shortcuts" yourself! There is a ZERO tolerance among the ARC National LG program managers, the Chapter LGITs, and any LGIs for this type of "shortcuting" of training. You have to be a part of the solution/enforcement to insure the integretity of the LG certification process.


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