Tomorrow is the last day for lifeguard tryouts. If you know anyone interested have them show up at the UTMB swimming pool at 7am. They’ll swim, interview, drug screen, compete in a run swim run for starters. Those that make it will start the 100 hour lifeguard academy that takes place over the next two weeks.
We are entering the busiest period for Beach Patrol. All of our seasonal workers should be rolling in during the next week or so which will be a relief since we’ll be able to provide much more beach front coverage. But it does mean that we have to conduct the bulk of our training over a short period of time.
During the next month we’ll train the rookie lifeguards, hold a week long lifeguard supervisor academy, implement tourism training courses with the Park Board, conduct a certification course for dispatchers, participate in a large scale scenario with our public safety partners, conduct six CPR classes including two for the Park Board staff, train surf camp instructors, run two separate personal water craft rescue courses, and hold our traditional “night swim” ultimate lifeguard physical challenge. Oh, and work the busiest holiday and the busiest part of the summer season. Fortunately we have an exceptional Training Officer, Sgt. Kara Harrison, who will be coordinating this three ring training circus.
Although all this training is mandated by one group or another, it sometimes feels like overkill. It’s exhausting, but you really see the value when you see the crew in action. A comprehensive training program directly translates to lives saved.
Last weekend Supervisor David Nash was patrolling with Senior Guard John Garcia at 53rd when they got a call that a man ran into another car and was slumped over the wheel and not breathing at 57th and seawall. They quickly made it there to find Galveston Police Officer Sean Migues had pulled the man out of the car. Sean is an ex Beach Patrol Supervisor/Officer who is also a Paramedic and Firefighter. GPD Chief Henry Porretto has a knack for putting the right people in the right places and Sean, a very affable, tourist friendly guy, works the parking detail on the seawall. Sean had already started CPR and David and John grabbed the automatic external defibrillator from the truck and quickly gave the patient two shocks which reportedly restarted the man’s heart. EMS arrived shortly after and took over care.
All three of these rescuers are heroes. But each has also had hundreds or even thousands of hours of training that led to such an efficient and professional response.
So when you drive down the seawall on Memorial Weekend and see all the men and women out working the lifeguard towers, patrol cars, ambulances, and fire trucks, know that each of them has committed a good portion of their lives to the training that enabled them to earn the right and privilege to be the one that might one day save you or your loved one.