Recreation Coordinator II, Beth Frazer, from Consumnes Community Service District, emailed me and commented, “…You have a curriculum for the training and how long it takes for 10 lifeguards… We have 40-60 lifeguards per training, so it would be nice to know how much time to add for each additional lifeguard, or maybe each additional 5 or 10 lifeguards.”
There are several ways to scale up the training to allow for large staff participation: Increase the time allocated for the training and/or an increase of instructors to facilitate the training. By doing both, this will allow three benefits to occur: all drills will be covered thoroughly, student-to-instructor ratio will remain low, and new drill variations will be available due to the size of the group and how one breaks the group into sub-groups.
Here is an example: Imagine the training will include 50 lifeguards, and you still want to do all 3 drills. Break the lifeguards into 3 sub-groups: 16, 16, and 18. Create a separate station for each drill, and have the sub-groups rotate through all the stations. Add 30 minutes to the training allowing each station to run for roughly 25 minutes. Here is the breakdown:
Briefing/suit up (5 min)
Station 1: Speed Rescue (25 min)
Break 1 (4 min)
Station 2: Multi-Lifeguard 2-on-1 (25 min)
Break 2 (3 min)
Station 3: Multi-Lifeguard 2-on-2 (25 min)
Debrief: (3 min)
Each sub-group would start the training at a different station, yet rotate through all the stations: (1/2/3, or 2/3/1, or 3/1/2.) This group division would require 3 trainers, or 1 lead trainer and 2 assistants, each running a station. Let’s go into detail on training configurations and new drill variations for each station.
For the SPEED RESCUE DRILL, I would split the sub-group into 2 pods (8 or 9 lifeguards), and set-up parallel drill configuration: Take the pool diagram and split both Lifeguard Station A and Rescue Point 1 into Lifeguard Station A1 and A2 and Rescue Point 1.0 and Rescue Point 1.1. Have one pod utilize Lifeguard Station A1, and the other pod utilizes Lifeguard Station A2. The parallel drill configuration would have the lifeguards from Lifeguard Station A1 going to Rescue Point 1.0, then peeling off to the left and returning to Station A1. Lifeguards from Station A2 would be going to Rescue Point 1.1, then peel off to the right, returning to Lifeguard Station A2.
The parallel drill configuration would allow additional variations:
Parallel drill configuration helps reduce idleness of lifeguards and allows for more repetitions of the activity.
With the MULTI-LIFEGUARD 2-ON-1 DRILL, the lifeguard sub-group should be broken into pods of 3 or 4 lifeguards. Do a parallel drill configuration with either all pods running simultaneously or 2 heats with 2-3 pods, alternating between the heats. Some additional variations:
For the MULTI-LIFEGUARD 2-ON-2 DRILL, break the sub-group into pods of 4. Run a parallel drill configuration with 2 pods active per heat. Inactive pods should observe and strategize how they will improve their execution for the upcoming heat. Allow rescuers to work with each other at least 3-4 times before changing out the victims within the pod. This will allow for better tactile memory development and rescue team efficiency. One additional variation:
As the size of the group increases, the possibility of your training getting sidetracked is high, due to participant distraction, unclear explanations of the drills and objectives, and the lack of an adequate timekeeper. Encourage that the rescue equipment be prepped and ready-to-use before the sub-group is allowed to go on break. Have your assigned timekeeper give a 5-minute warning before the end of each training interval. Lastly, if your instructors cover the drills too quickly, have them repeat and focus on some of the fine points within each variation. Remember there is always room for improvement.
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