Don't Take Your Lifeguard For Granted
A lot of people see a lifeguard sitting in their chair or walking along their pool deck, and they stop talk about how easy the job is. "Pretty easy job you got there huh?", "Want me to jump in so you could get some action?", "Wish this was my job, all I do is get tan and swim." Whether to the lifeguard personally or to their friend at the party (trust me, we hear it all either way), people are always looking down on lifeguards for hire.
I say trust me, we can hear it, because what a lot of people do not realize or even think about is our heightened senses. While we are on tower we are constantly hearing EVERYTHING around us. We are listening for someone choking in the kitchen, a child screaming in the lawn, an argument that breaks out, even a car that slams on its breaks outside of the facility. We are constantly opening our ears and letting all of these noises in. Many people think that we are not paying attention, we are staring off into the distance, but the truth is we probably know more about what is going on at that party than the host does.
Our ears are not the only sense that is hyperactive while lifeguarding your private pool. We see everything. We see a group of kids playing ninja on the side of the house, we see the dog jumping on a baby in the yard, and we see the kid that no one is watching standing on a stool that is not quite sturdy enough.
In order to be a good lifeguard, we have to be aware of literally everything that is happening, in and out of the pool. Once we are at your home lifeguarding we are guarding LIVES. No matter where they are what they are doing, we are looking out for you, and protecting the home owner. We do not just see and hear everything, we are contantly thinking of every scenario that may come about and what we would do if the emergency played out. We see that the child eating huge mouthfuls of a hotdog looks like he just got his teeth in, and there is a good chance he will choke, and if he does, what are my plans? I will blow my whistle and run over, ask for his parents permission (the dad is over by the bouncy house watching his girl slide down the slide), then treat the child.
There are so many more things that come along with being a lifeguard. Each of our lifeguards is aware of the amount of responsibility this job takes, and they are very serious about keeping the people in your pool safe. We know how to keep the people at your party safe because we did very vigorous training to recieve this job. This is not just a bus boy job, learning how to clear the table quickly, signing some papers, then getting a paycheck the next week. This is a lifeguard job with multiple certifications I have to keep up to date through red cross. I get audited by my managers constantly to make sure that I know CPR and can act quickly under pressure. I have weekly meeting where we go over saves and scenarios both in and out of the water.
So no, to answer your question, this is not an easy job. It is a job with a lot of responsibility for a teen to take in, but I love it. I love being able to see potential problems and fix them before they occur. I love the feeling of grabbing your child and pulling her to the stairs after seeing her in distress, while you are over enjoying your party. Because that is what I, the lifeguard, am here to do. Guard lives and keep your party safe. So next time you see your lifeguard instead of saying "Wow, easy job huh?" Why don't you say, "Thank you for being so attentive and stern with the rules, you are really keeping my loved ones safe."