Eight teenagers are now Red Cross certified lifeguards following a three-day class with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation March 27, April 3 and April 4 at Harney Sports Complex.
Under the instruction of Thula Stenerson, Red Cross certified lifeguard instructor for FMWR, students learned about lifeguard skills, CPR, bloodborne pathogens, first aid and AED (automated external defibrillator) use and are now Red Cross certified in all areas.
“(Being certified) means you’re on the job ready to start immediately versus getting the job and then having to get certified and then not doing anything,” Stenerson said. “We can’t use them on the pool deck or in a pool atmosphere if they don’t have the certification.”
The class was broken up into educational videos, classroom time, in-water exercises teaching students how to save a drowning victim using lifeguard rescue tubes, and a final written and in-water exam.
“Even if you don’t want to be a lifeguard, this is an amazing skill just to have under your belt and just to be able to do to feel more comfortable,” Stenerson said. “It’s a good skill for everyone to have, regardless of whether a job comes out of it.”
While students agreed that they ultimately wanted to get jobs as lifeguards this summer, they had other reasons for wanting to take the course, too. “I want to learn the basics in first aid because I plan on pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant, so I thought this is a good start to saving lives,” said Leavenworth High School senior Presley Lombardo, 17. “Every minute matters. Everything you do is timed so you never know how close to drowning someone could be.”
LHS sophomore Isaac Ativie, 16, said learning CPR has been the most helpful to him.
“It’s versatile. I can do a lot of stuff with (CPR) even if I’m not a lifeguard,” he said. “I can help a lot more people a lot more places if I know how to do this.” Patton Junior High School ninth-grader Karter Watson, 15, said the class is a good life experience.
“I’ve learned how to stay calm and not to panic under pressure if I ever have an emergency situation,” Watson said.
The next lifeguard class sessions, for those 15 and older, are April 18, 24 and 25, and May 15, 16 and 23 at Harney Sports Complex. Cost is $165 for the class with a $40 book fee, but the book is optional, Stenerson said.
“The way I teach, I don’t really reference the book a lot. I make sure to give them every bit of information they’re going to need to pass,” Stenerson said. “(Having the book) just depends on what type of learner you are. If you are someone who wants to plan ahead, read ahead, learn more about it then, yes, by all means, purchase it. But I try to set them up so they would pass with flying colors without it.”