Can lifeguards save your life? Parents have faith

C.O. pool-watchers go through extensive training

Are lifeguards up to the task?

SUNRIVER, Ore. - High temperatures on the High Desert are sending many to the pool to beat the heat.

But how much faith do you put in the lifeguards watching you and your family?

Lifeguards have to go through an extensive training program to learn first aid, CPR and rescues.

The local Red Cross has a program that lasts two weeks, but officials say it's not entirely up to the lifeguards to keep you and your family safe at the pool.

"The danger especially with the wood cookies is if they (kids) fall off, they could break a finger or break a wrist," Raymond Klein, lead lifeguard at the Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center, explained Monday.

They may look like they are just sitting there with their sunglasses on, but lifeguards are making sure your kids are safe.

"A lot of people don't understand we do have in-services about one, every two weeks, to keep our lifeguards trained," Klein said. "We do scenarios and conditioning."

Klein says lifeguards do have to be in tip-top shape.

One training program has the guards swimming 300 yards, lifting a brick out of 10 feet of water and treading water for two minutes.

And while you may think it's an easy job, Red Cross officials like Karen Parmelee say it's not.

"That constant awareness of people that you are seeing is the biggest skill you learn," Parmelee said.

Parents we talked with say they do have faith in the lifeguards.

"I think so," said parent Shawn Ranson. "They go through enough training and certification that I'm completely confident they will save this little guy."

"I feel like they are trained enough, but because my children are just learning how to swim, I keep an eagle eye on them as well," said Chris Stark, another parent. "My other concern with lifeguards, in particular, I think they should be paid more for guarding people's lives."

Lifeguards also want to remind parents to make sure their kids have a bathroom break every 45 minutes and make sure to stay hydrated.

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