With summer just a few calendar pages away, neighborhood pools and aquatics centers soon will need certified lifeguards to watch over the waters.
The Augusta Red Cross is the only area provider of lifeguard training, said Sharon Fry, a marketing and sales representative for the local Red Cross's Division of Health and Safety.
The Red Cross, which trains dozens of lifeguards each summer, started offering training classes in January and continues the classes through the end of April.
"They do fill up quickly," Fry said. "It is good to go ahead and be on the list."
To be eligible for lifeguard training, participants must be at least 15 years old and pass a pre-course skill evaluation. The evaluation consists of swimming 300 continuous yards using the front crawl stroke, breaststroke, then a combination of the two; and then swimming 20 yards, diving up to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound weight and swimming back within a minute and 40 seconds.
Through classroom learning and hands-on practice, class participants will learn surveillance skills to recognize and prevent injuries; rescue skills in and out of the water; first aid and CPR; and professional lifeguard responsibilities, such as interacting with the public and addressing uncooperative patrons.
Fry suggests taking classes as early as possible to get certification before pools open, which in some cases is in May, she said.
Lifeguard and first aid certifications are good for three years. The Red Cross offers lifeguard review courses for those who completed the course within the past four years and the CPR/AED for professional rescuers course within two years.
Lifeguard training classes, which cost $165, start April 7 and 14. A lifeguard instructor course to teach lifeguards to train others begins April 21 and costs $180.
For more information or to register, call the Augusta Red Cross office at (706) 724-8481 or visit www.arcaug.org..
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