Lifeguards – Not Just a Rescue Service (Latest GM Column 24 February 2018)

6 years ago | by

Beach wheelchair and lifeguard

Council’s Lifeguards are a very familiar sight on local beaches, particularly through the school holidays, but patrolling the beaches and looking after thousands of visitors and locals in and around the water every year is just one aspect of the Lifeguards Service.

Did you know that Council’s Lifeguards also provide extensive education programmes for regional primary and secondary schools, kindergarten students, migrants and seasonal workers, Southern Cross University students, clubs and organisations?

The education programmes vary from in-classroom sessions focusing on general beach and water safety issues, to on-the-beach training that involves participants in mock rescues, negotiating surf breaks, swimming, paddling, running, CPR and basic surfing skills.

Council’s Lifeguards also respond to emergencies beyond the beach. These vary from first-aid, search and rescue operations and tsunami and flood rescue. Currently three of Council’s Lifeguards are qualified in Swift-Water Rescue services and are ready to assist the SES during floods or tsunamis.

When they are on patrol, a major part of the Lifeguards’ work is undertaking preventative actions. Preventative actions are aimed at stopping an incident from happening. For example, advising people who may inadvertently be swimming in a rip current that they would be safer between the flags.

Generally Council’s Lifeguards carry out around 18,000 preventative actions every year.

The friendly faces of our Lifeguards are also often among the first locals that visitors meet. As a result, they’ve become adept at providing a variety of information – from the best beaches at which to swim, surf or snorkel, or where to find local attractions, weather conditions, hotels, entertainment and all sorts of other information.

They also offer a free beach wheelchair service so that people with disabilities can enjoy the surf safely.

Council’s Lifeguards have completed 13 rescues so far this year, 42 assists – helping someone to shore without actually making direct contact –and provided 22 people with first-aid. They also took part in one, unfortunately, unsuccessful resuscitation.

If you would like more information on the Lifeguards’ education programmes or other services, please call 6648 4000.

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