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Pool Lifeguard Syllabus

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Created on Friday, 25 August 2006 Written by NSVL

This is the assessment syllabus for the 7th Edition (first revision) National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (correct as for September 2006).

There are a number of additional skills which will be trained on your course, but are not formally assessed. 

UNIT 1 - The Principles of Lifesaving and Swimming Pool Supervision

Part 1 - The Principles of Pool Lifeguarding

Demonstrate an understanding of the principles involved in managing the safety of bathers and in the provision of rescue facilities in a swimming pool.

Answer six questions with at least one from each of the following four sections:
- Role of the lifeguard, scanning, observation and safety supervisory skills
- Water safety, accident prevention and the principles of Pool Safety Operating Procedures
- Bather behaviour, casualty recognition and the principles of water rescue
- Progressive rescue skills, rescue management and the use of poolside rescue equipment

Part 2 - Water rescue skills

2.1 Practical rescue - immediate response
Demonstrate a rescue using the principles of reaching, throwing or wading during a simulated incident.

A single casualty is located not more than 8m from a point of safe landing. The candidate may use recognised poolside rescue equipment and may call on support from at least one other member of the lifeguard team to assist with the recovery of the casualty. The position of the casualty and the type of rescue will be determined by the Assessor and can be either:

- a poolside rescue using a reaching or throwing aid at the discretion of the candidate

or

- a wading rescue with or without a rescue aid at the discretion of the candidate.

2.2 Contact rescue - deep water
Demonstrate a contact rescue of a casualty in deep water over a short distance.

Enter the water, approach a casualty and rescue the casualty over a distance of 5m to a point of safety.

The Assessor will choose a swim/tow rescue from:
- hip support
- under shoulder support
- under arm support

2.3 Deep water recovery
Demonstrate the rescue and recovery of a casualty who is lying on the bottom of the deepest part of the pool.

Using either a surface dive or other safe method of entry from the poolside, submerge to the deepest part of the pool and recover an RLSS UK approved submersible manikin to the surface on the FIRST ATTEMPT.

Exchange the manikin for a simulated unconscious casualty. Turn the casualty onto their back and rescue by an approved tow to a point of support, then at the discretion of the assessor the candidate will either:

 

  • Remove the casualty from the water using the assistance of other members of the lifeguard team. Turn the casualty onto their back and assess breathing of the casualty which will deemed not to be  normal.

OR

  • At the point of support assess the breathing of the casualty which will be deemed not to be normal. Assuming delay in the arrival of assistance, give simulated rescue breaths until help arrives. Remove the casualty from the water using the assistance of other members of the lifeguard team. Turn the casualty onto their back and reassess the breathing of the casualty which will still be deemed not to be normal.

Following one of the above actions:

Give five simulated rescue breaths. Demonstrate the technique for managing a casualty who vomits, then reassess the breathing which will be deemed to be present. Place the casualty into the recovery position.

2.4 Timed swim rescue - conscious casualty
Demonstrate personal fitness through performing the rapid rescue, over a distance, of a conscious casualty who is in deep water.

Alert other members of the lifeguard team to the emergency using a signal or other suitable method of communication. Enter the water safely and swim 20m to a conscious, co-operative casualty who is in deep water. Rescue the casualty by any approved lifeguard tow or using a torpedo buoy over a distance of 20m to a point of safety at the edge of the pool or standing in shallow water.

The assessor will determine the use of a torpedo buoy or approved lifeguard tow for each candidate.  The time limit from the word 'GO' at the point of alerting others to the point of touching the pool edge or standing up, secure and in a stable position in shallow water at the end of the rescue, is 65 seconds. This time must not be exceeded.

2.5 Timed swim rescue - unconscious casualty
Demonstrate personal fitness through performing the rapid rescue, over a distance, of an unconscious casualty who is in deep water.

Alert other members of the lifeguard team to the emergency using a signal or other suitable method of communication. Enter the water safely and swim 20m to an unconscious casualty who is floating face down. Rescue the casualty by any approved lifeguard tow over a distance of 10m to a point of safety at the edge of the pool or standing in shallow water.

The time limit from the word 'GO' at the point of alerting others to the point of touching the pool edge or standing up, secure and in a stable position in shallow water at the end of the rescue, is 45 seconds. This time must not be exceeded.

2.6 Spinal Cord Injury Management
Demonstrate the rescue, stabilisation and recovery of a casualty with a suspected spinal cord injury. Assistance with some parts of the stabilisation techniques may be performed by trained non-lifeguard staff.

2.6.1 Deep water rescue
Enter the water and approach a casualty who is face down in the water and who is out of the rescuer's standing depth or in the deepest part of the pool. The casualty is located not more than 8m from that point of entry. The casualty shall simulate a suspected spinal cord injury. Apply a vice grip, turn the casualty into a face up position and trawl for a distance of 10m to a point of firm, secure support within the rescuer's comfortable standing depth.

NOTE: If there is only shallow water, the candidate will demonstrate, as appropriate, a bear hug or head splint as selected by the assessor.

2.6.2 Stabilisation and casualty recovery from water

On completion of the initial rescue and with the rescuer standing in shallow water at a comfortable depth, assisted by members of the lifeguard team and other trained staff, stabilise the casualty onto the poolside.

- Where a spineboard complying with BS8403:2002 is available at the assessment centre and where staffing levels permit, working as a member of the team, recover the casualty into a safe position on the poolside. One candidate, selected by the Assessor, will take the role of team leader.

The assessor has the discretion to ask other candidates to demonstrate the use of the spineboard to recover a suspected spinal casualty to the poolside.

The recovery of a casualty using an approved spineboard may be undertaken after a rescue from either deep water or shallow water.

- where an approved spineboard is not available but where the pool figuration permits and staffing levels are appropriate, working as a member of the team recover the casualty into a safe position on the poolside using a horizontal lift.

At least one candidate, selected by the Assessor, will demonstrate leading the recovery by a horizontal lift. The assessor has the discretion to ask other candidates to demonstrate the horizontal lift to recover a suspected spinal casualty to poolside.

- where an approved spineboard is not available and a horizontal lift cannot be safely demonstrated, maintain the casualty in a horizontal and stable position to await the arrival of trained medical assistance. The candidate shall, under these circumstances, describe to the assessor the procedures for a horizontal lift and explain why the procedures cannot be demonstrated at the assessment centre.

Following one of the above actions:
On the poolside demonstrate the technique for managing a casualty who is vomiting and has a suspected spinal cord injury.

2.6.3 Shallow water rescue
Demonstrate at the discretion of the Assessor and as water depths dictate, the Bear Hug or Head Splint techniques to turn a casualty with a suspected spinal cord injury from a face down to a face up position. With assistance from members of the lifeguard team and from other trained staff, stabilise the casualty. The casualty need not be recovered onto the poolside if this technique has already been demonstrated.

NOTE: The spinal cord injury management section of this part of the practical test may be taken at any time during the practical assessment and as local conditions and staffing levels permit.

Part 3 Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

3.1 Practical Applications

Demonstrate appropriate casualty management and perform emergency resuscitation on a casualty.

3.1.1 Adult CPR and casualty management

Demonstrate competence in the management of an unconscious casualty and in the application of adult CPR. The casualty will be deemed to have suffered a sudden collapse.

On an approved manikin, demonstrate effective, single person, CPR for a period of 2 minutes.

For the purposes of the test, the manikin will represent a casualty who is unconscious and not breathing normally.

3.1.2 Adult CPR with 2 rescuers and pocket mask

Demonstrate competence in adult CPR combined with the use of a Pocket Mask, on an approved adult manikin. The casualty will be deemed to have suffered a sudden collapse.

Commencing with an adult manikin in a face up position, demonstrated effective CPR with 2 rescuers for a period of 2 minutes each.

For the purposes of the test, the manikin will represent a casualty who is unconscious and not breathing normally. Each candidate will demonstrate rescue breathing with a Pocket Mask and demonstrate chest compressions.

The candidate giving rescue breaths via the pocket mask and demonstrating compressions must be kneeling by the side of the manikin.

3.1.3 Child or infant CPR

Demonstrate competence in the application of CPR on a child OR infant manikin.

Each candidate will demonstrate either:

- Using an approved child manikin, demonstrate for a period of 2 minutes the technique for CPR

OR
- Using an approved infant manikin, demonstrate for a period of 2 minutes the technique for CPR

3.1.4 Adult CPR with suspected upper spinal cord injury

- Demonstrate the technique for obtaining a clear airway and effective rescue breaths and chest compressions for a period of approximately 2 minutes on an approved adult manikin. The casualty will be presumed to have sustained an upper spinal cord injury.

3.2 CPR theory
Demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of a range of conditions associated with casualties who are not breathing and show no signs of circulation.

Answer six questions, with at least one from each of the following four sections:
- principles of resuscitation and airway management
- drowning, secondary drowning and choking
- casualties who have sustained a suspected spinal cord injury to include a loss of consciousness
- the use of a pocket mask or other barrier during rescue breathing

Part 4 - First Aid at Work

4.1 Demonstrate the emergency management of a casualty who has sustained an injury. The candidate will demonstrate:

  • the full examination of either a conscious or unconscious casualty.

Then either:

The management of wounds and bleeding by treating one of the following:

  • wound to an upper or lower limb
  • the application of either an arm or elevation sling at the discretion of the Assessor
  • control of a nosebleed
  • application of an eye pad

OR

  • the management and stabilisation of fractures by treating one of the following:
  • upper or lower limb fracture
  • fracture to the pelvis, ribs or collar bone at the discretion of the Assessor
  • head injury

At the conclusion of this test the candidate will be expected to explain their actions to the Assessor to ensure that the candidate has sufficient underpinning knowledge of the subject.

4.2 Demonstrate knowledge of and an understanding of a range of conditions associated with casualties who have sustained an injury or become ill.

Answer six questions, with at least one from each of the following six sections:
- principles of first aid. First Aid at Work Regulations, contents of first aid boxes/kits
- head injuries, fainting and unconsciousness, eye, dental and facial injuries
- heart attacks, shock, poisoning, electric shock, effects of heat and cold
- treatment of illness to include diabetic emergency, epilepsy, asthma
- bleeding, burns and scalds
- strains and sprains, dislocations, fractures to include suspected spinal cord injury

UNIT 2 - The Application of Supervision and Rescue in a Swimming Pool

Element 5 - The Lifeguard, the Law, Regulations and Codes of Practice
The guided learning time for this unit is a minimum of one hour which includes continuous assessment of the candidate's knowledge. At the conclusion of this element, candidates will be expected to demonstrate a general awareness and basic understanding of the impact on their role as a lifeguard of the following:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
  • Principles of risk assessment
  • Demonstrate an understanding of COSHH
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Electricity at Work
  • Manual Handling
  • Fire Precautions regulations
  • First Aid at Work regulations

Essential paperwork

Maintenance records
Reporting faults
Accident reports
Incident reporting
Training records

Element 6 - The Swimming Pool and the Role of the Lifeguard
The guided learning time for this element should be a minimum of one hour to include continuous assessment. At the conclusion of this element, candidates will be expected to explain how different pool designs influence water safety and bather management and how their role can have a positive impact on safe pool operation.

  • Pool design features and risk factors including pool outlets, Pool water clarity, glare and blindspots
  • Equipment and storage
  • Equipment maintenance and logging of checks
  • Cleanliness and hygiene
  • Pool cleaning
  • Pre-swim hygiene
  • Personal safety equipment

Element 7 - Normal Operating Procedures
At the conclusion of this element candidates will be able to explain and show an understanding of the following: What a normal Operating Plan is and how it is produced; how pool zoning and rotation might apply in the workplace; the difference between programmed and general swimming sessions; what special activities take place at the pool; how to determine pool capacity and maximum bather loads; the importance of wearing the pool uniform; professional behaviour by lifeguards and other staff when on duty; child and general admissions policies; child protection policies; the procedures and requirements when working alone and effective communications when on duty as a lifeguard.

  • Content of a Normal Operating Procedures
  • Application of Normal Operating Procedures
  • Pool zoning and lifeguard rotation in the workplace
  • Programming and general swimming sessions
  • Special activities, clubs, galas and private hire
  • Pool capacity and maximum bather load
  • Uniform
  • Professional behaviour
  • Pool admissions policy
  • Working alone
  • Effective communications
  • Child Protection

Element 8 - Emergency Action Plans
The guided learning time for this section is a minimum of one hour including continuous assessment. At the conclusion of this element, candidates will be able to understand the requirements of an Emergency Action Plan, how it might apply in the workplace, what the roles of individuals are and how to respond in an emergency situation.

  • Content of an Emergency Action Plan
  • Application of an Emergency Action Plan
  • Role of each person in the plan
  • Incident management
  • Signs of problems
  • Recognition of an emergency, body language and play-acting
  • Alarm systems and pool evacuations
  • Crowd management

Element 9 - Provision and Use of Play Equipment in the Swimming Pool
At the conclusion of this element, candidates will be able to explain the safety requirements for the use of play equipment, how activity sessions may be supervised and the impact of bather behaviour on safety.

  • Logging of maintenance and equipment checks
  • Inflatable and non-inflatable toys and structures
  • Supervision of activities, numbers and positions of lifeguards
  • Play sessions, theory and practice
  • Customer service and the Company policy
  • Dealing with incidents and accidents
  • Storage procedures and manual handling requirements

Element 10 - Diving and Jumping in Swimming Pools
At the conclusion of this element, candidates will be able to explain the safety requirements that are necessary when diving activities are taking place, supervision methods for accident prevention and how diving stages and boards can impact on bather safety.

  • Principles of safe diving and jumping into a pool
  • When no diving is the rule
  • Types of dive - from the poolside, seated, standing, backwards and running
  • Competitive starts and swimming galas
  • Starting platforms
  • Diving boards, diving pools and diving areas
  • Controlling the diving area, in and out of use
  • Safety signs
  • Dealing with incidents and accidents

Element 11 - Flumes, Waterslides and other Water Features in Swimming Pools
At the conclusion of this element, candidates will be able to explain the safety requirements for the use of a variety of flumes, waterslides and other features, how they may be supervised and the impact of bather behaviour on safety when such features are in use.

  • Staffing levels and roles
  • Systems of control
  • Methods of entry and exit
  • Normal Operating Plan and Emergency Action Plan
  • Signs and rules
  • Dealing with incidents and accidents
  • Maintenance and logging/records
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