In the United States, about 4,000 people die from drowning each year, meaning nearly 10 people die a day from drowning.
The role of a lifeguard, regardless of where they're trained or employed, is to prevent death or injury. With the summertime right around the corner, we wanted to find out more about the duties of a lifeguard.
Kirksville Aquatic Center lifeguard supervisors John Venner and Joel Fischer tell us that there are different types of victims: a distressed swimmer, an active drowner and a passive swimmer.
A distressed swimmer is one that is starting to struggle, but still able to call for help.
â??The next type of victim is an active drowner,â?? said Venner. â??That's when they're starting to struggle, not making forward progress. They have anywhere from 20-40 seconds before they slip under the water. Those are the ones time is clearly of the essence. You need to make a quick recue on that.â??
There's also a passive swimmer. That is a person not moving or may be unconscious or under the water. John tells us life guards always try to catch a swimmer while they're still in the distressed state.
â??The initial rescues are only going to be one person,â?? said Venner. â??You're going to basically be there with the person to keep them above water. Then you have to think how I am going to get them to the wall or if there are any other life-threatening conditions they have.â??
Lifeguards use a device called a backboard. It's used when a person has spinal injury. Itâ??s designed to provide rigid and unmovable support during the water rescue process.
Lifeguards play a key role in ensuring a safe environment for swimmers and are vital in preventing aquatic mishaps.