Lifeguards are trained in a new certification program called BESTGuard, which originated here. The program has been in development for nearly 12 years. It was finished and submitted for Washington State certification last year. The program was approved by the State in February of 2014 and is now in the implementation stage at EWU Aquatic Center. Most of EWU's guards are certified with BESTGuard certification. For some, it will replace their current certification, and for others it will serve as a second lifeguarding certificate.
BESTGuard is unique in its approach to lifeguarding. By implementing eclectic rescue protocols that are the best practices as verified by extensive field testing, we don't adhere to techniques that are attached to a particular certification when other techniques are clearly better. When no technique exists that fits a given scenario, we develop our own. Many times prototol must be modified or developed to fit a given facility, as well as a given situation. BESTGuard is committed to cutting edge protocol and advanced first aid (First Responder level). BESTGuard includes rescues, first aid, CPR/AED, and oxygen administration. The full course is longer than most of the other current lifeguard courses, to include detail on complications that are typically associated with lifeguard rescues or first aid responses. Another unique aspect of BESTGuard is the comprehensive nature of the course. Included are units on lifeguards in the EMS system, human body systems as related to first aid, liability training, and pool operation. Although we acknowledge that no program can cover everything that a guard needs to know, we have plugged many of the "holes" that exist in some programs.
Coordinated EMS training is a requirement of the BESTGuard program; and as part of our first class, we spent a few hours working with the Cheney Fire Department on patient assessment, treatment, and seamless transfer of care. BESTGuard focuses on simulation based training and on dealing with complications that arise during rescues or the administration of first aid. Because first aid is dynamic, and must be based on action principles, more than on rote sequences, we believe this is a better approach.
For questions about this program and our staff training regimen, contact Aquatic Center Manager Greg Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full BESTGuard course is being offered Winter quarter 2015. Sign up at the Aquatic Center. Cost is only $5! Must be 16 years of age and have excellent swimming ability.
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