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Copyright 2001



The following whistle signals are used:

One short blast— To get the attention of a swimmer

Two short blasts— To get the attention of another staff member

Three short blasts— To activate the emergency action plan

One long blast— To clear the water



Minor Accidents: These can be defined as those occurrences that require the assistance of the lifeguard.  Included would be scrapes or cuts.  Supplies needed for these types of accidents can be found in the first-aid kit.  A phone call to the injured person’s parents should be made to inform them of the accident.


Critical Accidents: These can be defined as those occurrences that require outside medical attention.  If the accident is of a lesser injury such as a cut requiring stitches or the suspicion of a broken bone, the injured’s parent or close relative should be contacted immediately.  In the case of a more critical injury, such as burns from contact with chemicals or unconsciousness, the ambulance should be called immediately followed by notification of the victim’s parents or close relative.



1.  Dial 911

2.  Give the dispatcher the necessary information.  Answer any question he/she might ask.

Most dispatchers will ask-

*the location or address of the emergency

*the telephone number from which the call is being made (665-9919)

*the caller’s name

*What happened

*how many people are injured

*the condition of the victim

*what care is being given

3.  Describe who will meet the arriving EMS personnel and where they will be met

4.  Do not hang up until the dispatcher hangs up.

5.  Return and report to the lifeguard who is caring for the victim.



A lifeguard has four basic responsibilities in an emergency:
1.  To keep all patrons safe by ensuring all zones stay covered at all times
2.  To rescue and give first aid, including CPR, to a victim, or help another lifeguard doing so
3.  To make sure EMS personnel are called when needed for the victim’s condition
4.  To ensure the victim gets the best possible care until EMS personnel arrive and to help these personnel as needed.

The lifeguard on duty shall be alert and attentive at all times.  They should be ready to recognize if a person is drowning, ill, or injured--either in or out of the water.

If a drowning victim is spotted, the lifeguard should immediately take the necessary steps to get the victim out of the water. If the victim is not injured or unconscious, they should be instructed to stay out of the water and rest for a period of time.  If the victim is extremely exhausted or shaken up, let them rest and then they should be told to go home.  The victim’s family should be notified of the incident.

If the victim is unconscious, not breathing, or has no pulse, rescue breathing or CPR should immediately be administered continuously until help arrives and takes over.  Fellow lifeguards should immediately contact the ambulance and then begin to evacuate the pool area.  The victim’s family shall be notified as soon as possible.

If there is a possibility of a head or neck injury, appropriate rescue should be made for possible spinal injury using in-line stabilization.  If there are broken bones the victim should not be moved unless necessary.  The backboard should be used to transport the victim onto the stretcher or ambulance.

Other lifeguards on duty should not interfere with the rescue attempt but try to note the time of accident and interview witnesses to the accident in case statements are needed.  They should take over coverage of the pool, stand by for a signal to call EMS and clear the pool if necessary.