Lifeguards from Stanislaus County, region refresh summer safety skills

mrowland@modbee.comJune 14, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
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MODESTO — As many Central Valley residents start taking refuge from the hot sun with a cool dip, area lifeguards were brushing up on their skills Friday to keep them safe.

Some 100 certified lifeguards from across Stanislaus County and the region took part in a California Parks and Recreation Society-sponsored intensive training course to kick off the summer swimming season. The lifeguards work for parks and recreation departments in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Riverbank, Patterson, Manteca and Empire and came together for a rescue and first aid refresher.

This is the second year the various recreation departments have collaborated in the aquatics training.

Led by East Bay Regional Park District instructor Pete DeQuincy, the students got a crash course in CPR, primary rescue, water rescue andwater extraction. While all the lifeguards already have skills in those areas, the course helped standardize their training.

"When you become a lifeguard you get the minimum, but that doesn't address ways to work as a team," DeQuincy said. "A lot of times when you are a lifeguard, you have no control over your schedule or who you work with. So it's very important to be able to work with everyone as a team."

Lifeguards in the program, who ranged from high school to college students and beyond, said the intensive course helped them get more comfortable with their colleagues.

"You mix with different people from different facilities who are out of your comfort zone, which is good," said lifeguard Kendall Reilly, 19.

During scorching summer days, area public pools can be packed with hundreds of patrons. For lifeguards, who are staffed anywhere from five to 10 per pool, being able to act quickly and recognize dangers are key. Swimmers come in with all skill levels, from kids getting in the pool for the first time to triathletes training for a race.

Lifeguards recommend swimmers of all expertise levels follow certain precautions to stay safe and have fun in the water. They include:

• Swim in supervised areas with a lifeguard on duty; never swim in canals.

• Obey all safety signs and warning flags.

• Know where the deeper water starts, and enter on the shallow end.

• Supervise small children at all times when near or in the water.

• Do not run or roughhouse around the pool.

• Wear sunscreen, and reapply it after a couple of hours.

• Remember to drink water and stay hydrated throughout the day.

• Take swimming lessons.

Swimming lessons are offered by most city parks and recreation departments in the county. Classes are available for a variety of skill levels and ages and run about two weeks each. They cost $35 to $55.

"You can be any age and learn how to swim," said Ashley Bougoukalos, city of Modesto recreation supervisor. "We teach people to be safe, and you're never too old to learn."

City of Modesto head lifeguard Evan Lintt said lifeguards are trained to recognize someone in trouble in the water. But 90 percent of their job is to prevent problems and stop dangerous behavior before any rescue is needed. Still, even those without strong swimming skills can stay safe and cool off, if they take precautions.

"There is always a shallow end," he said.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.A listing of community pool openings and swim lessons run by city parks and recreation departments in Stanislaus County this summer:


POOL OPENINGS, SWIM CLASSES

MODESTO

• Public Recreational Swim: (begins today)

Johansen High Pool, 641 Norseman Drive

Open 1-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday

Admission $1 children, $2 adult

Swim Classes: (begin Monday)

Burris Pool at Sonoma Elementary, 1325 Sonoma Ave.

Graceada Park Pool, 401 Needham St.

Johansen High Pool, 641 Norseman Drive

Two-week classes start June 17, July 8 and July 22

Cost $35

Call (209) 577-5344

TURLOCK

• Public Recreational Swim: (begins today)

Columbia Park Pool, 600 Columbia St.

12-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 12:15-2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday

Pitman High Pool, 2525 W. Christoffersen Pkwy.

12:15-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

Turlock High Pool, 1600 E Canal Drive

12:15-2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday

Admission $1 children, $2 adult

Swim Classes: (begin Monday)

Columbia Park Pool, 600 Columbia St.

Pitman High Pool, 2525 W. Christoffersen Pkwy.

Turlock High Pool, 1600 E. Canal Drive

Two-week classes start June 17, July 8, July 22 and Aug. 5

Cost $42

Call (209) 668-5594

CERES

• Public Recreational Swim: (begins June 21)

Ceres High Pool, 2320 Central Ave.

Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Admission $2 children, $2.50 adults

Swim Classes: (begin Monday)

Ceres High Pool, 2320 Central Ave.

Two-week classes start June 17, July 9 and July 29

Cost $40

Call (209) 538-5628

RIVERBANK

• Public Recreational Swim: (began June 1)

Riverbank Community Pool, corner of Seventh and Stanislaus streets

1-3:30 p.m Monday-Thursday

12-3:30 p.m. Saturday

Admission $1.75 children, $2.25 adults

Swim Classes: (began June 3)

Two-week classes continue June 17, July 8, July 22 and Aug. 5

Cost $45 resident, $50 non-residents

Call (209) 863-7150

OAKDALE

• Public Recreational Swim: (began June 1)

Royse Memorial Plunge, 555 N. Third Ave.

1-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

1-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Admission $1 children under 14, $2 age 15 and up

Swim Classes: (began June 3)

Royse Memorial Plunge, 555 North Third Ave.

Two-week classes continue June 17, July 1 and July 15

Cost $45-$55

Call (209) 847-3152

PATTERSON

• Public Recreational Swim: (open now)

Patterson Aquatic Center, 1025 W. Las Palmas Ave.

12-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday

1-4 p.m. Friday

1-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Admission $3 swimmers, $1 non-swimmers

Swim Classes: (began June 3)

Patterson Aquatic Center, 1025 W. Las Palmas Ave.

Two-week classes continue June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29, Aug. 12, Aug. 26

Cost $45

Call (209) 895-8000

EMPIRE (run by the Stanislaus County Police Activities League)

Public Recreational Swim: (open now)

Regional Water Safety Training Center, Empire Pool, 10 I St.

12:30-2:45 p.m. and 3-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday

12:30-3 p.m. and 3:15-5:45 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Admission $1.50 swimmer, $1 non-swimmer weekdays; $2 swimmer, $1 non-swimmer weekends

Swim Classes: (began June 10)

Regional Water Safety Training Center, Empire Pool, 10 I St.

Two-week classes continue July 1 and July 22

Cost $35

Call (209) 529-9121

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