Lifeguards train to fill post-Katrina shortage

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -  The lifeguard instructor training is complex and it's intense. When the subject is saving lives, it requires a big commitment from both student and teacher.

"We're having three candidates that will become instructor trainers," Red Cross Safety Instructor Jane Davis said. "Then we have other trainers who will be instructors of life guarding and CPR for the professional rescue. So they can go out in the community and teach the courses."

Davis points out that this is the first time in four years this course has been held in South Mississippi. She said it's needed because of the lack of lifeguards.

"There is a very large need out there."

YMCA Aquatics Director Dewey Case said not having the adequate number of lifeguards can negatively affect the community in many ways.

"There have been pools that have not been able to open because they don't have any lifeguards," Case said. "So every time we have a pool that is not open, we have children not learning how to swim. We also have individuals going to lakes, rivers, and streams, and they are drowning there instead of being saved at a guarded pool."

The thrill of saving lives is why Blake Williams signed up for the course. Williams admits some of the water exercises have been challenging.

"That was very difficult. My victim was very big, but something you learn in life guarding is that your victim can be ten times the size of you, but with the proper training, it will all go over smoothly."

The instructors hope these lessons will make the trainees stronger, faster, and more helpful lifeguards.

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