Lifeguard - Safety Training Pros

Shallow Water Blackout

Posted on by Trainer in Aquatics, Articles, Lifeguard, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

Shallow Water Blackout (SWB) is the silent killer. Shallow Water Blackout occurs when a swimmer holds their breath while underwater. Swimmers are at risk of passing out due to a lack of oxygen. Since there is no struggle or signs someone is in danger, it can quickly result in death. Unfortunately, the number of deaths attributed to SWB is not fully known, because they are often labeled as a traditional drowning. So, what exactly is shallow water blackout? Why does SWB continue to occur and how can we, as Lifeguards and Aquatic professionals, make the public more aware of this issue.

What is Shallow Water Blackout?
According to, Shallow Water Blackout results from hypoxia (low oxygen) to the brain. What triggers one to breathe is the elevation of carbon dioxide (CO2), not low oxygen (O2). The danger is exacerbated with hyper-ventilation prior to breath-holding. One basically “blacks out” or faints in the water. For some, their lungs will take on water leading to drowning while others simply suffocate or die of other causes brought on by the breath-holding.

SWB can happen in as little as three feet of water. It can happen so fast that even the most experienced lifeguard could miss it.

Swimming World magazine stated some are caused by kids who dare their friends to a breath-holding contest. Not wanting to lose, one of them will push their bodies past the limit, when their brain shuts down before it tells the body to go to the surface.

Why does it continue to happen?
There is a lack of education and awareness on the dangers of breath-holding. When you go to a pool you almost always see a “No Running” or a “No Diving” sign posted but “No Breath-Holding” signs have yet to become the norm.

Another issue is that underwater breath-holding and underwater swimming has been practiced for decades. Breath-holders, whether it be a competitive swimmer, a child, freediver, etc., do not understand how to prevent SWB.

The CDC warns that “dangerous underwater breath-holding behaviors” can lead to otherwise strong, healthy swimmers losing consciousness underwater and drowning.

What can we do to make those who visit our facilities more aware of SWB?
As an Aquatic Professional, I think that taking the time to educate the public, as well as the lifeguards who serve those that use your facility, is key in helping to raise awareness. Pool signage and a small handout with information and tips on preventing Shallow Water Blackout (see tips below) for the bathers could go a long way.

Tips to Prevent SWB:
• Don’t Play Breath-holding games      
• Don’t Hyperventilate
• Don’t Swim Alone
• Don’t Ignore the Urge to Breathe

Holding an in-service training for your lifeguards on the importance of monitoring breath holding could help them identify risky behaviors. Make sure that they always scan the bottom of the pool. Remind them that even when its swim team practice, they should stay vigilant (remember: they have lifeguards at the Olympics too). Creating a conversation among the staff about staying safe is always a good thing!

At Safety Training Pros we proudly serve the Northern California & Northern Nevada for all your aquatic training needs. We offer Waterfront Lifeguard, Lifeguard, Shallow Water Lifeguard, Basic Water Rescue, Safety Training for Swim Coaches, Lifeguard Instructor, and Pool In-Service Training.

If you or your facility need training, please contact us at or 1-844-900-SAFE.

How to write a patient care report

Posted on by SafetyPros in In-Service, Lifeguard, Professional Rescuers, Rescue, Title 22 Leave a comment

Many emergency responders including Lifeguards, complete a patient care report on the incidents they respond to. Responders involved in the incident need to complete the appropriate report form as quickly as possible after providing care. Record only factual information of what was heard and seen and any action taken. Do not give personal opinions.

Documentation is important for legal reasons as well as for tracking when, where and how often incidents occur. Reports provide valuable information for facilities to use when they assess safety protocols, such as staffing levels or placement of lifeguard stations.

Here is a checklist of questions providers should answer before submitting a report:

  • Are your descriptions detailed enough?
  • Are the abbreviations you used appropriate and professional?
  • Is your report free of grammar and spelling errors?
  • Is it legible?
  • Is the chief complaint correct?
  • Is your impression specific enough?
  • Are all other details in order?


1. Check descriptions
Upon the completion of every incident, your report documents all events that occurred. This includes a detailed assessment of the situation and a full recounting of the treatment administered to the patient. It is specific, informative, free of ambiguity and negligence.

  • Which arm is the patient having pain?
  • Is it the upper or lower part of the arm?
  • What was the timeline of the incident?


2. Check (and recheck) spelling and grammar

Your report should paint a picture, but this is impossible to do without proper English. Besides not being accurate or professional, incorrect English may very well lead a reader to believe something false. For example, there may be confusion (and laughter) if a report says “patient fainted and her eyes rolled around the room.” Though this is a humorous example, dire consequence can follow confusing reporting.

Reporting should be free of misspellings and the understanding of what you are trying to say should be clear. For example, the trauma surgeon should have a good understanding of the mechanism of injury that brought the patient to the hospital from reading your report.

3. Assess your chief complaint description
An area of the report that is frequently misused is the chief complaint which should explain why you were needed or why the patient is being treated. Chief complaint is not the cause of the injury. For example, a chief complaint is pain to the right lower arm, not the fact that the patient has fallen off a ladder. Using the patient’s own words is an appropriate practice if they describe symptoms of their chief complaint.

4. Review your impressions
An impression encompasses the reasons for patient treatment. Trauma and fall are too vague to be used as impressions. Include the body areas or symptoms that are being treated. In other words, what treatment protocol is being followed?

If you are following a stroke protocol, and your assessment indicates a possible stroke, this should be included in your impression. Multi-systems trauma injuries bring additional challenges, but if multi-body systems are involved, they all should be included in your impression of the patient.

5. Check the final details
The patient’s SAMPLE including past medical history and medications are important to note. Document the patient’s history completely. Remember bystanders or those close to the patient can often provide valuable information about the patient.

Another important aspect to clearly document is the outcome of your treatments. Some reports have a standard text box that indicates improved, but in your narrative you should clearly document how the treatment improved the patient’s condition.

After the incident and upon completion of the report writing, you may be asked to attend an operational debriefing. The goals of the debriefing are to examine what happened, assess the effectiveness of the EAP, condier new ways to prevent similiar incidents and to be alert for stress reactions after a critical incident. Be sure to avaoid assigning blame or criticizing anyone’s actions or reactions.

For additional in-service training at your facility, contact the rescue professionals at Safety Training Pros 844-900-SAFE (7233).

Hypoxic Blackout in Aquatic Activities is Deadly Serious

Posted on by SafetyPros in Aquatics, General, Lifeguard, Professional Rescuers, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

The practices of hyperventilation preceding underwater swimming and extended breath-holding in the water are dangerous and potentially deadly activities. These activities can put the body in a state of hypoxia—a condition in which the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. It is our goal to educate those that we teach about the risks of hypoxia in the water and help ensure that they do not engage in behavior that could result in loss of consciousness and death. This includes lifeguards, Water Safety instructors and swim coaches, participants in a learn-to-swim program and their parents as well as the general public who engage in aquatic activities.
The result of these activities is referred to by some as “shallow water blackout.” The use of this terminology in these cases is misleading since water depth is not a Swim Coachfactor in the body’s response to hyperventilation and extended breath-holding. Shallow water blackout is the medical condition that can result as a deep water diver returns to surface and blacks out in water that is typically less than 5’ deep. There are specific precautions and prevention strategies for this condition.
In an effort to be more clear and accurate, Safety Training Pros will not use the term shallow water blackout. In our training programs and public education, we use terminology that describes the dangerous behaviors that should be prevented—voluntary hyperventilation preceding underwater swimming and extended breath-holding. For simplicity, we refer to this condition as hypoxic blackout.
Water Safety

Lifeguards, instructors and coaches are trained to be alert and prevent swimmers attempting to hyperventilate and engage in extended breath-holding activities. Lifeguards are taught to respond quickly to any individual who is motionless in the water for any reason, including loss of consciousness. Water Safety instructors are also taught to limit participants to a single inhalation whenever they ask participants to hold their breath and submerge, and to set safety limits whenever setting up activities that involve underwater swimming. Being confident and comfortable underwater is an essential aquatic skill. Knowing what breath holding techniques are unsafe is important in exercising good judgment for safe skill practice and supervision of underwater aquatic activities.


Stay safe this summer and remember When Every Second Counts, Your Training Matters!

5 Lifeguard Interview Tips – Get the job you want!

Posted on by SafetyPros in Aquatics, Lifeguard, Professional Rescuers, Training Leave a comment

A lifeguard job interview is just the beginning of one of the most fun, rewarding and profitable summer jobs that a young adult can have. From fun in the sun to learning lifesaving skills, lifeguarding proves to be a gratifying way to earn money during the warm summer months. But before you can take a seat in a lifeguard chair, you must apply, interview and train. Interviewing for a job like lifeguarding may seem a bit intimidating, possibly even frightening, so here are some tips that will help ease your lifeguard job interview anxiety.

  1. American Red Cross Aquatic TrainingBe confident. If you do not believe in yourself, no one will. Before the lifeguard job interview begins, take a few deep breaths and relax. Being calm will be important for a successful interview, but it will also show the recruitment officer that you can stay calm and focused in a stressful situation.
  2. Display good manners and be polite. Lifeguards interact with a variety of pool goers on a daily basis, so being personable and respectful to the interviewer is a must. Even if you are young, you will need to conduct yourself in a mature manner. The recruiter will see that you can interact with people professionally and respectfully, no matter the situation.
  3. Be flexible with your availability. The more hours you have available, the more flexibility you express for various shifts or days of the week, the more your potential employer will want to work with you.
  4. Dress up. Be sure to dress in appropriate attire for a lifeguard job interview. Even though you are applying for a job that only requires casual attire, it is smart to dress in a clean and professional manner to put your best foot forward – without the flip flops.
  5. Be organized and neat. Have your application, resume, and any certifications you have, in a neat and tidy package. If anything is handwritten, make sure the writing is neat and legible. On the job, you’ll be expected to complete reports and you want to showcase your ability to articulate and write a solid performance!

Still nervous about the lifeguard job interview?

Get your Lifeguard training at Safety Training Pros. Our instructors will ensure your rescue skills are tight and you have a solid understanding of your Lifeguard responsibilities. We will help prepare you for the interview and the job!

After training, contact Safety Training Pros about our Lifeguard Intern Program. We’ll make sure your rescue and water skills are awesome, you’ll get valuable in water practice time, and you may even have an opportunity to work on your leadership and coaching skills. When you do a great job, you could end up with a strong recommendation for hire, job placement assistance, or a reference letter.  This may be the edge you need to secure your spot with your new employer!

Remember everyone has to go through the same interview and hiring process as you. Although the thought of interviewing for a job as a lifeguard can be stressful, it is well worth the effort. Remember to be confident, polite, flexible, presentable, and neat. You’ll see that securing a job as a lifeguard isn’t so scary after all.

New Safety Training Pros Video

Posted on by SafetyPros in Aquatics, CPR, CPR for Business, General, Lifeguard, Professional Rescuers, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

We’ve been working hard on creating some new videos for your viewing pleasure and we’ll be rolling them out soon. Here is the first one! Let us know how you like it.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook!

How to Renew Your Lifeguard Certification

Posted on by SafetyPros in Aquatics, Lifeguard, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

Safety Training Pros is offering a one day re-certification class for current lifeguards.  The class is from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Glen Oaks Swim & Tennis Club, 4301 Paradise Drive, Carmichael.

The course is for lifeguards currently certified in American Red Cross Lifeguarding/First Aid, and/or CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer, needing to update their skills to maintain their certification. Through videos and hands-on review practice, you’ll refresh your patron rescue and surveillance skills, land and water rescue skills as well as first aid and CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers. Participants will conclude their re-certification with a written test.

The certifications you earn are good for two years.

The fee is $149, including an electronic version of the new lifeguard manual. Register online at or by calling 916-538-6447.

How To Become a Better Lifeguard

Posted on by SafetyPros in Aquatics, Lifeguard, Professional Rescuers, Rescue, Training Leave a comment

Set yourself apart from the crowd by adding Advanced Lifeguard Training to your resume. Our training is only offered once a year in Sacramento. To schedule your advanced lifeguard training now, contact Katryna Anderson at Safety Training Pros at 916-538-6447.

For over 10 years we’ve been giving advanced Lifeguards the tools they need to effectively train and supervise aquatic staff across the Western United States. The course incorporates the latest in industry trends and data with years of aquatic operations experience to provide the nations leading lifeguard development workshop. The trainers understand the relationship between a lifeguards ability to solve problems, make decisions, communicate and work as a team, and their ability to perform in critical situations.

This course is designed for experienced lifeguards who wish to improve their Lifeguard skills and those employees that will be in management or training roles. The training date this year will be Saturday, April 6th, 2013 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. This course fills up quick, so make sure to reserve your training space early!

Not a lifeguard yet? It’s fun and easy to get your lifeguard certification and become a trained professional rescuer. Contact Safety Training Pros for more information 916-538-6447 or go to