School’s in for lifeguards

Twenty-five surf lifesavers from northern NSW are attending the 2007 Lifeguard School being held in Ballina this week.

The lifesavers from as far north as the Gold Coast south to South West Rocks have been selected to take part in the school, which is the training program for those lifesavers who wish to be appointed as employed lifeguards over summer and is being conducted by Australian Lifeguard Services, a division of Surf Life Saving NSW.

The program kicked off yesterday with an 800 metre pool swim and a physical and skills assessment in rough conditions at Shelly Beach, Ballina. Today’s session covered advanced first aid procedures.

Sessions for the remainder of the week include Beach Management and Public Safety, Advanced Resuscitation, Spinal Injury management, Defibrillation and radio communications.

Speakers from local councils and emergency services will deliver sessions on the Local Government Act, ambulance protocols and public relations.

Northern NSW Lifeguard Coordinator Stephen Leahy said: “Some of the younger guys felt the pressure of the big surf conditions yesterday and we will continue to test their skills and their decision-making ability over the next couple of days.

“While the schools give the lifesavers the skills to work on the beach, senior lifeguards are assessing the candidates on their suitability to be appointed as an employed lifeguard.

“We are assessing the students’ aptitude, personality, how they handle stressful situations and how they communicate with others.

“Not only do we want lifeguards to be skilled rescuers but they must have the people skills to deal with many different situations. We also expect lifeguards to be wonderful ambassadors for their council and for surf lifesaving.”

Successful lifeguards will work on beaches throughout northern NSW. The Lifeguard School concludes on Friday afternoon.

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