Hay River’s acting aquatic supervisor says staffing the pool is a constant work-in-progress.
This is why the town offered bronze cross and bronze medallion certification at the aquatic centre this past weekend through the Lifesaving Society. A small group of water-savvy folks assembled to take the next steps before acquiring a certificate to lifeguard: the NLS or National Lifeguard Service certification.
“We’re mostly trying to train locally so that if we need (to staff positions) we can hire locally and we’re not having to hire out and train at the last minute,” said acting aquatic supervisor Heather Tybring.
“Our strategy is to keep it local. All of the senior guards we have right now were hired in Hay River.”
Currently there are between two and three full-time lifeguards at the aquatic centre along with four casual guards – these included junior lifeguards, who have to be staffed along with senior lifeguards for training purposes.
In order to achieve NLS training a person must be at least 16 years old and possess first aid, bronze cross and bronze medallion training. There needs to be one lifeguard supervising for every 35 people in the pool. Tybring said students are often hired to take the position but then go away to school, hence the need for constant renewal.
“Right now I’d say as long as we’re steadily offering courses and training people it will be OK,” said Tybring, “but it’s an ongoing process. Usually we will advertise for positions locally as well as advertise out and sometimes we get more response from advertising out.”
The last time the aquatic centre held an NLS workshop was 2011 and the plan is to hold another in January, 2013.
by Angele Cano