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Jun 21, 2005

Lifeguards train for summer duty

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The kids are nearly out of school, the weather is hot, and the rivers are beginning to rise. It’s a combination that in the news business means a summer of stories on tragic drownings. But, as I learned this afternoon, it’s a forecast that does not have to come true.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
For the past week, twelve volunteers from the Young Men?s and Young Women?s Christian Associations have been engaged in intensive training courses in lifeguard skills. Tomorrow they?ll swim their final exams, but according to visiting instructor Diane Erb, these youths have already acquired a long list of abilities.

Diane Erb, Lifeguard Instructor
?They?ll be able to recognize active drowning victims, passive drowning victims, they?ll be able to do rescue breathing, they?ll know first aid, they?ll know C.P.R. so if someone has stopped breathing they?ll be able to resuscitate them back. They?ll do any type of rescue skills, whether the victim is drowning, whether the victim is passive, whether they?ve hit themselves on the bottom of the pool they?ll know back-boarding procedures. So they?ll know a lot of first aid procedures and how to rescue somebody.?

According to newly appointed Executive Director of the YMCA, Dr. Clara Cuellar, this programme is designed to have a ripple effect on the whole country.

Dr. Clara Cuellar, Executive Dir., Y.M.C.A.
?One of the visions that I see is certainly for one certified instructor for each district. I could see this as a proposal to the Ministry to have certified teachers in every school and that no water school trip should leave without certified lifeguards on them.?

But the mere presence of a lifeguard does not guarantee safety. However, as the YWCA and the YMCA prepares to launch their summer swimming programmes, the lifeguard trainees advise everyone to get wet.

Samir Rosado, Lifeguard Trainee
?To start kids off in the water at a very young age is very good; it gets them used to the water. And swimming programmes, especially in Belize where we have a lot of sea and you know we love to swim, they should take their kids to the swimming programmes just to make them learn to do it properly so they can handle themselves in the water.?

Janelle Chanona
?What you like most about participating in these types of programmes??

Xiomara Lanza, Lifeguard Trainee
?Working with the children watching them have fun in the water and teaching them how to have fun but be safe.?

The certification attained this week will be valid for the next three years. According to the YMCA, eight certified guards will be poolside at their programmes, while five will keep watch at the YWCA.

According to the YMCA and the YWCA, support from the business community, especially Prosser Fertilizer and the Princess Hotel and Casino, has been instrumental in developing the swimming programmes.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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