Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Are Lifeguards Supposed to Guard Lives?

I rarely feel like ranting on my blog but I've had a pet peeve for a while and tonight brought it to a head.

Silly me, I always thought the purpose of a lifeguard at a pool was to watch carefully and make sure no one needed help in the water. That only, no multitasking.

That must not be what they are teaching at lifeguard training nowadays.

I take a water aerobics class at a local non profit agency pool twice a week. There is a lifeguard there. Apparently the lifeguards feel that life guarding is a secondary occupation.
Their primary job duties seem to be (in no particular order):

1. Paperwork
2. Socializing with members of the opposite sex
3. Texting, or otherwise doing "stuff" with their cell phone

Yes, I've complained about it. But after a while the behavior starts over.

I feel like I am the only one complaining. I don't complain often, only when it is really blatant, or when I am in a mood to. And maybe that isn't right. Maybe I should be a pain, but that isn't my nature.

Because I'm not normally facing the lifeguard during the entire class (only when we turn in certain directions) I am not paying attention during the entire class.

I'd love to know if this is against NY law.

This is why this behavior really concerns me:

Back in 1999 my family was enjoying an August trip to a municipal pool in Iowa City, Iowa. Suddenly, all hell broke loose, we were being chased out of the pool, people were shouting and pointing. As I got out of the pool, I looked back, and there was a person lying prone in the pool. Lifeguards (there were more than one; this was a large pool) were speeding their way to the victim and the rescue was made as we watched in horror.

The pool was closed for about 1/2 hour, which my (then) 9 year old son didn't appreciate.

Thankfully, while we were waiting, an announcement was made. This was a drill, there was no victim. Everyone was thanked for their cooperation and for the inconvenience.

As the parent of a teenager, I would not like to see any teen spend the rest of their life in an agony of remorse because someone had a heart attack and died during a water aerobics class, while they were busy chatting or texting.

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