Heddles lifeguard training provides life skills

Photo by Emy Lynn Roque Cisneros Lifeguard students Brandon Butler, Jacob Merriman and Hana Hollenback practice CPR at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta. The recreation center is in need of more lifeguards. The next certification training will b

Swimmers enjoy the lazy river and lap lanes at Bill Heddles Recreation Center. But where there is water, there is risk of drowning. To prevent them, lifeguards constantly watch over the swimmers.

Three Delta County students were recently certified through the American Red Cross to supervise safety and perform emergency rescues -- skills that can be used at Bill Heddles, or anywhere.

Red Cross training covers water safety, leadership, and life-saving first aid techniques including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training.

Bill Heddles aquatics coordinator Amanda Hatch said the emergency management knowledge acquired through lifeguarding can also provide an advantage to those planning to enter law enforcement or military. "Lifeguarding offers life skills, like problem solving, confidence and customer service," she said.

On average Heddles offers week-long training certification courses during each of the four seasons. Training sessions are typically held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $100, but Hatch said price shouldn't be an obstacle to someone wishing to take the training. A scholarship program in association with The Nature Connection makes the training available at half-price for high school applicants. Reimbursement through employment is also possible.

The next lifeguard training is scheduled during the Delta Public Schools' fall break --Monday, Oct. 14 through Thursday, Oct. 17.

Hatch said the pool is in "high need of lifeguarding staff" this fall. While staffing has been steady the last few years, several lifeguards are preparing to leave for college. Staffing during daytime hours is also a priority, since high-school age students typically can't work during school hours.

Possibly on the horizon is a school-day training to attract those who are available while their children are in school. While some knowledge of basic swimming skills are needed, Hatch said participants don't need to be excellent swimmers.

An American Red Cross lifeguard certification is also widely accepted at other facilities, making it a transferable job for anyone. Those interested in learning more about lifeguard trainings, scholarships or job opportunities can contact Hatch at amanda@cityofdelta.net

or 970-874-0923, ext. 209.

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