Follow-up on Fortifying your Facility: How to scale up the training for 40-60 lifeguards

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.

  • Have the pod at A1 do a timed competition against the pod at A2.
  • Have both pods complete the drill under a certain amount of time and don’t allow them to complete the objective unless both pods pass the timing goal at the same time.
  • Change the parallel configuration to an ‘X’ configuration: Pod at A1 crosses and goes to Rescue Point 1.1, and pod at A2 crosses and goes Rescue Point 1.0. Have the lifeguards peel off and go back to their original lifeguard station (A1 or A2). Emphasize that once the lifeguard must take 3-5 strokes before they break to the left or right, and cross to the other rescue point. Contact with the other lifeguard should be avoided if possible.
  • Change the ‘X’ configuration to a figure ‘8’ configuration: Pod at A1 crosses and goes to Rescue Point 1.1, and pod at A2 crosses and goes Rescue Point 1.0. Have the lifeguards peel off and line up at the opposite lifeguard station. Contact with the other lifeguard should be avoided if possible. The objective is to have everyone get through both lifeguard stations within a pre-determined time.

 

 

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:

  • Timed heats, where each pod must complete the objective within the timing goal before the heat can move to the next activity.
  • Stagger the distance of the victims; keep the same timing goal. Lifeguards can work within their heat to figure out how to meet the timing goals. Victims are interchangeable in this drill variation.
  • Randomize the victim’s condition, surface-facedown to submerged, keeping the same timing goal. Victims remain the same for each pod.
  • Stagger the distance and randomize the victim’s condition, keep the same timing goal. As a heat, they must figure out how rescue all the victims within the timing goal. Victims are interchangeable in this drill variation.

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:

  • Timed heats, where each pod must complete the objective within the timing goal before the heat can move to the next activity.

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.

Any questions, contact me at: pdequincy@ebparks.org

 

Views: 148

Tags: aquatics, drills, education, in-service, lifeguarding, safety, teamwork, training, water

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Comment by Beth Frazer on December 20, 2012 at 12:18pm

Awesome, thanks for answering my question! This helps!

Comment by Gary Thill on December 19, 2012 at 3:08pm

Great follow up. Thanks Pete!

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