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Jun 23, 2017

New Lifeguards Trained by YMCA

In recent months, we have reported a number of drowning incidents across the country. Despite the fact that Belize is surrounded by bodies of water and is dotted with rivers, creeks and other tributaries, a relatively high number of adults and children still drown. Over the years, the YMCA has carried out several swim programs to teach people to swim and train lifeguards. For the past fifteen years YMCA Belize has been partnering with its U.S. counterpart to train lifeguards on how to respond timely and help to prevent accidents.  Since Wednesday, a group of lifeguards in training have been working with two international trainers to become certified lifeguards in the YMCA’s annual program. News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at today’s training and has more.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Sixteen lifeguards are being certified through the YMCA’s certification program in conjunction with Gateway Region YMCA of St. Louis, Missouri, USA. But to become certified, the lifeguards must do nine e-learning courses blended into classroom teachings. Upon completion of the theory, the lifeguards in training will have to demonstrate pool skills in the practical component of certification exercise, including a number of different rescue scenarios.


Kyle Fetick

Kyle Fetick, Lifeguard Instructor, Gateway Region YMCA, St. Louis, U.S.A.

“At the end of this certification course they would have completed all the physical competency requirements that we have, so they had to swim certain distance in the pool; they had to do some threading skills, they had to show us that they can go down to the bottom of at least eight feet and then from that once they pass that portion they go through the rest of the course. The rest of the course consists of classroom learning where they learn CPR and AD, First AID.  Some of them are non-swimming assist, a lot of them are rescue skills with a distress swimmer, a drowning victim that is responsive or one that is un-responsive. Basically when we teach are them we are saying that on this day they are able to complete these skills for us, but if they go on and don’t practice these skills or don’t have to do them again, they are gonna forget some of those skills and that is very important. As a part of the swimming lessons are concerned, the majority of drowning in the U.S.A. happen when a lifeguard isn’t present, they are able to not only prevent accidents from happening, but if they do happen they are able to respond to it in a timely manner and that increases the likelihood of survival especially in young children.”


Nertavo Rancharan is one of those lifeguards who helps swimmers stay safe in the waters. He has always enjoyed swimming, couple that with his love for helping people – lifeguarding presented an opportunity for him to do both. He got introduced to lifeguarding through the YMCA and today he is hoping to become certified through this programme.


Nertavo Rancharan

Nertavo Rancharan, Lifeguard in Training

“Today we are practicing different life-saving techniques such as if you have a spinal injury how to take them out – how to properly take them out so they don’t damage their spinal cord even more. We are also practicing how to save someone if they are unconscious in the deep or in the shallow and how to take them out of the water properly.  I believe that everyone should know how to swim. At the Y, we teach from infants to adults, all ages, no one is too old or too young to learn how to swim. We classify them like beginners ,intermediate and advance and that is how we go placing them and how they learn different techniques, how to stay up and at least how to float.  I believe that the law should be upheld that all public pools should have lifeguards in case of an emergency and that is what we are training here in case we have an emergency.”


The YMCA says that there is a big need for lifeguards in Belize; and certification programs likes this one help lifeguards to be updated with industry techniques and equipment in lifeguarding.


Clara Cuellar

Clara Cuellar, Executive Director, YMCA Belize

“This is very important to us because with all the incidents, accidents, and even drowning in our waterways we feel that it is very important to promote and push lifeguard. Because instead of telling our young people know water, we need to prepare them for the water all around us.   The schools with whom we partner directly, people are trying to slow down and not take trips to the cayes and the rivers because of the concern; so there is a big need for swim instruction and there is an even bigger need for life guard training so that we can have safety among all our young people and among our young groups.”


Lifeguards must be re-certified through this program every two years to keep abreast of lifeguarding standards. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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