Lifeguards play a critical role out at the pool. Lifeguards are professionally trained in providing on-the-spot life saving emergency care. Out of the many accidents and injuries that can occur in and around the pool, lifeguards are trained to identify dangerous situations, spot distressed swimmers, and make rescues. Lifeguards are also trained to enforce pool rules and keep an orderly environment. Lifeguards cannot watch every person every second of the day.
According to Dr. Julie Gilchrist of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 75% of victims found unconscious underwater are found by people in the pool, not lifeguards.
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Why Other People and NOT Lifeguards?
Sometimes lifeguards, and other people outside the pool, can't see someone who's in trouble underwater because of waves, ripples or glare on the pool's surface.
That means that people in the pool many times have the clearest view of what's happening underwater.
Lifeguards are an important layer of protection. Lifeguards find many underwater victims first and provide emergency care to 100% of victims. What matters is that people are found fast, NOT who finds them! Seconds matter in saving a life.
Drownings happen quickly and often silently. Please be alert. You could save a life.
In the image above, a child is underwater and has been indicated by a red oval. If the child were in distress, it could be difficult for a lifeguard to see him, due to water surface disturbance, glare, high activity in the area, and distance from the lifeguard. There are at least three adult swimmers within an arm's reach of the child who could see and check on the child sooner. If you see someone underwater, don't assume they are playing or holding their breath. They might be in danger.
Call for help if you see something!