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Wear the rescue tube.

I appreciate the focus on lifeguarding and lifeguard management in the May issue. Both articles, "Managing Your Best" and "Guarding Against Misconceptions," were well-written and informative.

I was, however, disappointed with the photograph chosen to accompany the "Managing Your Best" article. The Red Cross lifeguard training program clearly indicates that lifeguards must have their rescue tube on them not just resting on their chairs.

This is the standard of care across the industry. In a well-managed aquatics facility, the lifeguard pictured should be corrected for not properly using his essential rescue equipment. He is not prepared to make a rescue because he would have to take the time to get his rescue tube and put it on before entering the water. This would also make him take his focus off the person in trouble while getting his tube.

As stated in the article, it is an important lifeguard management issue to "have the proper rescue and personal protective equipment," but it is equally important to ensure that the guards are using the equipment according to the highest standard of care.

I do believe that this is a management issue because newly trained guards know that they should be wearing the rescue tube, but all too often they go to work at a facility where the "experienced" staff are using their rescue tubes for footrests, etc. If the facility does not have a culture of meeting the proper standard of care, most young guards will go with the flow and follow the standard established by the senior guards.

As a lifeguard instructor and facility manager, I find it very frustrating to see guards I trained put into situations where they must oppose a facility culture to do their job right.

Wayne Ziegler

Vice President/Director

Aqua Culture Training Center & Swim School

Forest Hill, Md.

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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Zigler, Wayne
Publication:Aquatics International
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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