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The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department is putting prospective seasonal swimming pool lifeguards through their paces. Nearly 100 candidates arrived for the assessments for municipal swimming pool lifeguards at the Blue Downs swimming pool this week. 

The 85 applicants who arrived for assessments on Monday, 6 August 2018 were expected to complete a number of tests in order to be considered for final selection.

This included:

  • swimming 100 metres in under two minutes
  • completing a torpedo buoy rescue with pool exit
  • dead load carry
  • retrieving an object and performing front and back strangleholds

They were also tested on various first aid elements including spinal board management, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), artificial respiration and successful execution of the vomiting and recovery positions.

‘We have thousands of people visiting the City’s swimming pools during the warm summer months and so our lifeguards have to be up to the task, because public safety is a priority. The assessment that the candidates undergo is in line with international lifesaving standards.

‘While previous lifesaving and first aid experience is a plus, we also do our best to level the playing fields and give newcomers a fair chance by offering training during the off season that prepares them for the assessments,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Statistics show that the most common causes of drowning are swimming in ‘non-bathing’ areas, being under the influence of alcohol and drowning linked to unsupervised minors.

‘It is therefore imperative that bathers abide by the instructions of lifeguards. They are not out to spoil anyone’s fun, but are simply looking out for the interests of visitors to the pools. Apart from saving lives when required, the preventative work that the lifeguards do is equally important and contributed to our success last summer when there were no drownings reported at our swimming pools,’ added Alderman Smith.

Lifeguard duties include:

  • Patrolling, monitoring and controlling the pool, deck and diving areas
  • Monitoring and controlling the entrance to and exit from the pool and physical activities of patrons
  • Identifying, preventing and removing hazards and threats to pool users
  • Recognising and responding quickly to all emergency situations
  • Ensuring their own safety and that of others while participating in aquatic rescues
  • Applying the correct/prescribed lifesaving and first aid procedures
  • Pool maintenance

The City will appoint lifeguards to all municipal swimming pools that are open to the public, starting from 26 September 2018. The public will be informed in due course about which swimming pools will be open this summer, as operations have been affected by the ongoing drought and the resultant water restrictions.

Interviews for beach lifeguard positions will commence in the last week of August.

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