With summer in full swing, beaches and pools across the country are bustling with activity. As a lifeguard, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of all patrons enjoying recreational water activities. While obtaining your initial lifeguard certification allows you to secure a position on the frontlines of water safety, maintaining current training is equally as important. Let’s explore three key reasons why upholding your lifeguard training is still important even after beginning work.
Skills Deteriorate Without Practice
The skills taught in lifeguard training—such as scanning techniques, first aid protocols, spine boarding a victim, and CPR—require routine practice to stay sharp. Similar to other physically demanding jobs, lifeguarding abilities will deteriorate if not used regularly. Annual recertification classes provide refresher training to keep lifeguards optimized in their performance. Requalification evaluations also confirm guards can still efficiently respond in emergency scenarios as required by their facilities. Without consistent practice, lifeguards risk not performing at the high level needed in a critical situation.
Maintaining Advanced Trainings
While basic lifeguard training introduces fundamental skills, many guards choose to augment their training with supplemental specializations. Recertification programs often provide opportunities to obtain additional certifications recognizing higher expertise. Examples include Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguard Instructor, and certifications for special aquatics like surf or ice water rescue. Achieving these advanced credentials demonstrates a lifeguard’s commitment to professional growth and increasing their value to employers. It also expands career opportunities as guards can take on leadership roles in area swim lessons or serve as trainers for other lifeguards. Continuing education through yearly recertification encourages pursuing these advancing certifications that boost lifeguarding careers.
Learning from Other Professionals
Recertification classes bring lifeguards together to share knowledge and learn from each other’s experiences. These group training environments can expose participants to different rescue approaches from their colleagues. For example, a lifeguard may pick up new scanning techniques from a peer with a unique strategy. Class discussions also present chances to problem-solve past rescues and brainstorm improved response plans from collective insight. Instructors additionally provide expert perspective having encountered a breadth of aquatic incidents. This cross-pollination of rescue expertise between professionals nurtures new career perspectives and tactics through thoughtful examination. Recertification classes foster this important collaborative learning at the heart of ongoing training success.
Staying Up to Date in Research and Trends
As experts constantly evaluate new aquatic safety data and strategies, lifeguards must similarly advance their understanding. Recertification trains guards on any relevant research published since their last training. Recent studies may cover topics like drowning demographics shifts, statistical swim pattern analyses, or revised first aid protocols. Thought leaders also explore emerging safety technologies, program models, and legislation yearly. By recertifying, lifeguards remain conversant in these critical developments that could guide enhanced policies, public outreach campaigns, or participant education at their facilities. With aquatic environments continually changing, recertification ensures guards evolve their knowledge and practices hand in hand.
Policies and Procedures Evolve
Since the original certification course, advancements may have been implemented in best practices, safety regulations, or medical protocols for lifeguards. New research could influence updated techniques for spinal injuries, drowning prevention, or first aid. Lifeguard certifying agencies periodically revise standards to align with evolving national guidelines. Annual recertification classes expose guards to any modifications in their operating procedures and policies. This ensures they have the most current training to properly do their jobs according to the latest technical and legal requirements.
Certification Demonstrates Commitment
Beyond renewing vital skills and knowledge, lifeguard recertification substantiates an ongoing dedication to water safety as a profession. Employers seek hardworking, responsible candidates invested in their roles—qualities signaling continued training indicates. Recertification also provides opportunities for additional certifications, like Water Park Lifeguarding or Lifeguard Management. Expanding one’s credentials boosts marketability and chances of promotion. Committed lifeguards regularly certify themselves as experts deserving of leadership roles. Parents and patrons feel secure knowing fully recertified staff oversee their enjoyment and protection in and around bodies of water.
Hands-On Assessment Ensures Readiness
While book knowledge is essential, lifeguarding skills require physical competency that can only be assessed through hands-on evaluation. Annual recertification classes provide opportunities to demonstrate all mandatory lifeguarding techniques to qualified instructors for requalification. This on-site assessment is critical for confirming guards are still physically capable of performing strenuous skills like open-water rescues, safe victim extractions from the water, and responsive CPR administration. Indoor lectures alone cannot prove one’s technical proficiencies remain up to the lifesaving standards demanded on the job. Regular hands-on testing during recertification gives instructors and employers assurance that certificated guards stand ready to act decisively and correctly in the heat of any emergency.
Maintaining Vigilance Prevents Complacency
As with any safety-sensitive role, overreliance or growing complacent pose serious risks for lifeguards and the public. Recertification serves as an annual reminder of why constant alertness and caution are so vital. Rigorous refresher training reinvigorates the mental focus and physical stamina required to maintain effective surveillance for the entirety of long shifts. Complacency is a guard’s greatest threat, as attention lapses can easily cost precious time in critical rescues. By challenging guards with intensive recertification processes each year, vigilance and emergency readiness stay continually reinforced. No lifeguard, no matter their tenure, is immune to the perils of complacency—making ongoing education through certification renewals a must.
Advances in Aquatic Safety Technology
Along with evolving procedures, new safety equipment and technologies are continually improving aquatic rescues and emergency responsiveness. Annual recertification ensures guards are updated on any innovative devices or techniques enhancing water safety. For example, certification courses may cover training on electronic AED devices, water rescue equipment like throw ropes or rescue tubes, or aquatic emergency action planning software. Staying abreast through recertification exposes guards to advances enabling faster, more effective emergency response. A committed guard will recertify not only to retain their duties but to incorporate useful innovations better protecting swimmers with each new certification period.
In summation, maintaining lifeguard certification is indispensable to performing this highly important job well. Annual recertification replenishes vital rescue proficiencies, assures comprehensions of current processes, and proves long-term dedication to the field. At American Lifeguard Events, we aim to provide innovative, engaging training programs so lifeguards everywhere can continue to save lives responsibly and efficiently. Please contact us to learn more about upcoming certification courses helping lifeguards uphold their critical role in water safety.