Lifeguard Course Essentials: Skills and Certification

Water Skills Mastery

The ALA’s course spends significant time ensuring students can execute all water skills confidently and efficiently. Through repetition and instruction, they build skill muscle memory in feet-first surface dives, swim goggles retrieval, contact strokes, underwater swims and more. Instructors provide constant feedback and adjustments so graduates can perform without hesitation.

First Aid & CPR Certification

Attaining both First Aid and CPR certifications through the ALA program verifies students possess critical emergency response abilities. Manikin practice reinforces chest compressions, rescue breathing, AED use, bleeding control, and more until each student can demonstrate competent care under time constraints. These are lifelong skills that may one day save a lifeguard course.

Scanning Techniques

The ALA emphasizes optimal scanning methodologies to catch aquatics emergencies early. Through zone, circle and other surveillance methods, students learn to maximize coverage. Instructors verbally quiz students on details they observe during drills. Visual acuity tests evaluate near and far sight recognition abilities for spotting potential issues.

Spinal Injuries & Mobilization

Knowing proper spinal injury management can directly impact a victim’s survival odds and long term health. Students learn gentle cradle techniques for neutral spine positioning whether in shallow or deep water. Practice safe transfers to backboards help minimize movement risks.

Rescue Equipment & Propulsion

The course covers essential water equipment like rescue tubes, throw bags and lifeguard devices. Proficiency develops through repeated in-water carries and defense methods in various conditions. Swimming rescuer techniques are practiced for both overhand and underhand arm reaches and passes.

Surveillance Station Operation

Students learn Surveillance system fundamentals for different style towers including radio use. They gain experience scanning from elevated stations with varying ranges of visibility to appreciate guard field of view impacts.

Communicable Disease Education

The course covers OSHA blood borne pathogens regulations and steps guards must take in any medical emergency to limit exposure risks. Prevention practices are strongly emphasized for a safe work environment.

Mock Rescue Scenarios

Practicing structured multi-guard response drills helps students develop rapid procedures. Time pressure simulations reinforce accountability forms, spinal protocols and rescuer roles in crisis action plans.

Record Keeping

Documentation standards for incident reports and logs are taught. Accurate paperwork protects facilities, guards and patrons in the event of legal or insurance matters related to injuries within their jurisdiction.

Program Review

To focus study efforts, a course review covers all skills, topics and expectations students will be tested on to demonstrate competency and earn ALA certification. This highlights critical areas meriting additional practice.


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