Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch Newsletter May 2014
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In this issue:

Inspiring Stories from our H&R Awards Ceremony
New President Inducted at AGM
New Public Pool Safety Standards
More about Rescue Aids
Bronze Resources - Rescue Cards
Lifesaving Programs for Public Education
Legal Beagle
The Truth About Hosting a LG Competition
Member Services Update
Lifesaving Instructor Trainer Courses
National Lifeguard Instructor Courses

Inspiring Stories from Honour and Rescue Awards Ceremony

The 102nd annual Honour and Rescue award ceremony took place on March 29th, 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.  We were pleased to have our Branch Paton, The Honourable Judith Guichon Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia in attendance to present the awards.  Other guests included Craig Amundsen, National Lifesaving Society President, Richard Lee, MLA for Burnaby North and Elizabeth Ball, Deputy Mayor, City of Vancouver.   

The Honour awards praise the dedicated efforts of the Lifesaving Society’s volunteers.  The 3 award categories included Certificate of Thanks to volunteers who have dedicated a minimum of 2 years of service, Service Medal for a minimum of 4 years of service and the President’s Plaque for invaluable service.  

The Rescue Awards continue the celebration by rewarding people for unselfishness in putting their lives on the line during a water rescue. The selections are made from rescues reported in the news, from individual recommendations and from police reports.  This year saw 23 recipients of rescue awards including Silver Medals for Merit, Silver Medals for Bravery, M.G. Griffiths Awards, GA Brown Memorial Medal and the Governor’s Gold Medal.  

For a complete list of recipients visit our website.
Michael Lawless, Branch President (left) and Craig Amundsen, National President, (right) with MG Griffiths award recipients, Daniel Zayonc,, Callie Hill, Julien Peron,  Gary Lefebvre, Kristine Williams, Tracy Goodman.

New President Inducted at AGM

On March 28, 2014 the Branch held its 102nd AGM at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.  The evening’s agenda included Affiliate and instructor recognition awards, scholarship presentations, AED rescue commendations and a Year-in-Review presentation.  

Every year instructors are recognized in 2 categories; Lifetime Achievement and New Instructor (in Lifesaving, Lifeguard and First Aid).  A number of recipients from throughout the Branch were present to receive their recognition including Richard Park of Victoria, Marg Kovacs of Grand Forks and Michael Miller of Surrey for Outstanding Achievement and Marty Wickham from North Vancouver for New First Aid Instructor.   Other recipients will receive their certificates at regional meetings being held in the spring.   For a complete list of recipients, please visit our website  

For the 20th year, Doug Perks donated scholarships to several lifeguard/instructors to assist them in their education.  This year he and his committee member, Ernst Wilmink, awarded five $500 scholarships to Claire Bruce, Prince George; Marc Lacroix, Surrey; Cameron Meldrum, Chilliwack; Amanda Tuey, Burnaby; Julia Sharma, Burnaby who received the new scholarship donated in memory of the late Jean Lathwell, great supporter and past archivist for the Branch and national office.  For a complete list of past recipients and to learn more about the scholarship program, visit our website.

As part of the AED Quality Assurance Program, many Affiliates were also honoured for rescues performed which included the use of an AED. This year we recognized Canada Games Centre, Kamloops; Pender Harbour Aquatic & Fitness Centre; North Peace Leisure Pool, Fort St. John; City Centre Aquatic Centre, Coquitlam and Campbell River Sportsplex.  To read more about their rescues, visit our website.

The final part of the evening was the formal AGM.  At this year’s meeting Dalyce Brandt handed over the reins to the new Branch President, Michael Lawless from Victoria, who will serve a 2 year term.  Dalyce does not say goodbye yet though as she will be serving a 1 year term on the board as Past President. 

New Public Pool Safety Standards

The Lifesaving Society Canada, in association with its Branches across Canada, has published the new National Public Pool Safety Standards for Canadian Public Swimming Pools available online at

The Lifesaving Society is Canada’s lifeguarding expert and is a national, independent, charitable organization that has been saving lives in Canada for over 100 years.  The Society works to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart® public education, aquatic safety management, drowning research and lifesaving sport.  In consultation with its Affiliate Members, the Lifesaving Society advises on the judicial system, and with governments, and pool and waterfront owners and operators on matters related to public safety in aquatic environments.

In Canada, most provincial/territorial jurisdictions have regulations or guidelines for public aquatic facilities. These regulations or guidelines vary in the aquatic safety issues they address and may also be silent on topics deemed relevant by the Lifesaving Society.

Owners and operators of public swimming pools must fulfill the requirements detailed in regulations. Local health inspectors perform inspections of public pools, and should be used as resources in answering questions and assisting owners and operators in meeting the regulations. The Standards presented in this publication are designed to provide guidance to public pool owners and operators on matters not addressed in regulation or guidelines in their own jurisdictions, and assist aquatic staff in operating safe facilities. 

Lifesaving Society standards are based on extensive research of existing standards, guidelines and best practices at home and abroad. Lifesaving Society standards represent the reasonable minimum; pool operators are encouraged to go beyond them. 

The new Standards include:
1.    The minimum age for a lifeguard on duty
2.    Lifeguard certification
3.    Bather to lifeguard ratios
4.    Emergency and operating procedures
5.    Entrapment and suction hazards
6.    Safety equipment
7.    Emergency telephone
8.    Water Clarity
9.    Diving Depths
10.    Records
11.    Lighting Levels

There is also information about safety supervision during instructional periods, swimming pool basin colour, lifeguard chair specifications and breath-holding.  The Lifesaving Society will continue to develop and publish national standards on other important aquatic safety issues.  

For more information, contact David Rose at or call the Branch Office.

More about Rescue Aids

Whenever a lifeguard undertakes a contact rescue, they should always enter the water with a rescue aid, even if there is trained back-up available.

As per the NLS Award Guide (Pool Item #9a), lifeguards need to be trained on how to rescue a DNS patient both with and without an aid (not all victims will grab an aid).

Lifeguards should carry a rescue aid or have one within close proximity when lifeguarding as:
  • Trained back-up may not always be available.
  • The rescuer/victim size ratio may require additional support.
  • The swimming/support ability of the rescuer may be an issue.  
  • Using a rescue aid effectively is a safety precaution for lifeguards.
The Lifesaving Society recommends the use of the rescue tube or rescue can as they provide sufficient newtons of buoyancy to support a large adult and often the rescuer as well.  Lifeguards should not carry flutter boards or child size PFDs as a rescue aid as they have relatively low newtons of buoyancy and would not support an adult in distress.

Two commonly asked questions, answered

Do Instructors have to incorporate the use of rescue aids throughout an NL course?

Yes.  As per the NL Award Guide, lifeguards need to be trained on how to rescue a victim both with and without an aid.  

To ensure consistency across the Branch, it is recommended that the management items be performed without a rescue aid (as per the Award Guide) and that simulations be performed with a rescue aid.  NL Recert Conductors have been introducing rescue aid skills to NL candidates trained prior to June 15/2013 in the 2013/2014 NL Precert clinics.

The rescue tube, rescue can, ring buoy and adult sized PFD are the only approved rescue aids as they provide sufficient newtons of buoyancy to support a large adult (and often the rescuer as well).  Lifeguards should not carry flutter boards or child size PFDs as a rescue aid as they have relatively low newtons of buoyancy and would not support an adult in distress.

Do lifeguards have to carry rescue aids while lifeguarding?

No.  All lifeguards must be taught how to effectively use an approved rescue aid in the rescue of a distressed/drowning swimmer or unconscious victim.  A lifeguard has the option of carrying the rescue aid or having it easily accessible should they require it in the event of an emergency.  

Whenever a lifeguard undertakes a contact rescue, they should always enter the water with a rescue aid as:
  • Trained back-up may not always be available.
  • The rescuer/victim size ratio may require additional support.
  • The swimming/support ability of the rescuer may be an issue.  
  • Using a rescue aid effectively is a safety precaution for lifeguards.

The key is that the lifeguard must practice either carrying/using the rescue aid or retrieving the rescue aid as part of inservice training.  If a lifeguard does not use the rescue aid in practice, they will not think to use it in an emergency.
It is important to note that employers have the option of requiring lifeguard staff to carry rescue aids as part of their conditions of employment.

For video demonstration visit our YouTube page:

Bronze Resources Part 2:  Rescue Cards

I love hearing stories of real life rescues.  If you put a group of pool people together inevitably the talk turns to first aid and water rescue situations that each person has faced.  There are some great lessons learned through the sharing of those stories.  

The Leadership Committee used this concept to build rescue cards for each of the Bronze programs.  We combed through the Honour and Rescue awards from each of the provinces to find stories that fit with the criteria for each rescue item.  Most of the rescue cards include the settings, aids and victim types that the real life rescuers faced.  As a result we have some really interesting scenarios that move beyond the over-used “intoxicated victim falling of a boat” scenario.  

Have you ever considered a night time rescue?  What about a situation in which everyone has fallen out of a boat in the water and there isn’t a rescuer onshore to help?  A rescue while snorkelling? Cliff jumping?  At a wedding in which the flower girl falls off a decorative bridge into a pond?  These situations all actually happened.   The rescuers involved had to make water safe decisions based on their unique situation and the resources they had on hand.  This skill is called ‘judgement.’  It is, of course, one of the main goals of the Bronze program.
The only way to develop judgement is copious amounts of practice.  The more exceptional situations and decisions that candidates are asked to make, using the Rescuer Ladder and Rescuer’s checklist as a framework, the better they become at improvising in unusual circumstances.  As such, we encourage instructors to use all of the rescues created for each award.  After a practice rescue take the time to read the stories or statistics on each of the rescue cards.  Compare the way that the candidates handled the situation to the way that the real life rescuer handled it.  What can we learn?
Another handy feature of the rescue cards is that you can print two and cut one copy into rescuer cards, victim cards and bystander cards. Instructors can hand out the role cards at the beginning of each rescue and use the complete card themselves.  This reduces set up time and increase the amount of practice opportunities per class.  We laminated ours and clipped them together so they could be re-used but you can certainly just use paper copies and re-print as needed.

The bystander cards have been designed for dual purposes.  Often the bystanders have little to do which can be a missed learning opportunity.  When cutting out the bystander card, include the rescuer’s checklist that has been strategically placed right next to it.  Instruct bystanders to check off the steps as the rescuer performs them. This re-enforces the steps of the checklist for the bystander and keeps them engaged in learning while the rescue is occurring.  At the end of the rescue their information can help the instructor give constructive feedback to the rescuers.  It’s easy to miss something when you’re watching several rescues simultaneously.  

The rescue cards include a picture.  As the old adage goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Candidates can visually process and remember more information using a photo than they can by reading or listening to a list of characteristics about the location.  Hopefully this will help them respond appropriately to differing weather, water and wave conditions even though they are performing the rescue in a familiar unchanged pool setting. You might be interested to know that where possible we included photos of the actual locations of the real life rescue stories.  

The feedback that we have received regarding these rescue cards so far has been fantastic.  Candidates are responding to these real life narratives as we all respond to stories of courage and skill.  Inspired and prepared to act.  
"Whomsoever you see in distress recognize in them a fellow human being." 

Lifesaving Programs for Public Education

Lifesaving for Backyard Pool Owners
The majority of drowning incidents in residential swimming pools are predictable and preventable events that can be avoided by restricting access to the pool area and direct adult supervision.  In the event that an incident does occur, the Lifesaving for Backyard Pool Owners course was designed to offer basic, low risk water rescue training to individuals who spend time around the water, but may not have strong swimming skills.

Lifesaving for Lay Rescuers
In light of the drowning trends, the Lifesaving for Lay Rescuer course was designed to offer basic, low risk water rescue training to individuals who spend time around the water, but may not know how to swim or have weak swimming skills.  For individuals who can swim, the Lifesaving Society recommends the Bronze Medallion program as entering the water (shallow or deep) puts the rescuer in a high risk situation and requires special skills to perform a water rescue safely.

Why offer the LBP or LLR Program?
The programs are a non-certification course and as such can be customized to meet the needs of private pool owners or a group of lay rescuers (i.e. a group of parents).
It provides Affiliates with a wider range of programming options and they will now be able to promote the Water Smart® message, along with the Swim to Survive® standard.

The Process
It is recommended that Affiliates offer the LBP or LLR just prior to the summer season (late May), with the Red Cross Lifejacket Day activities and during Drowning Prevention Week (third week in July).

The LBP Program Information Resource, Candidate Workbook and Award Guide can be downloaded from the Lifesaving Instructor Group on our website at no charge.

Legal Beagle

Alivia King was a regular patron at the Playmore Aquatic Centre, mainly using the teach pool, with her only experience of the main pool being to test the water temperature.  On February 25, the teach pool was crowded, so she decided to venture into the 50 metre main pool for a swim.  Both teach and main pools had bulkheads to separate activity areas and on this day the main pool bulkhead was positioned to create a 25 metre length swim configuration.

Read the full article and other Legal Beagle's online


The Truth About Hosting a Lifeguard Competition

Why would I want to host a lifeguard competition?

A lifeguard competition is hands down the best training opportunity you can provide for your lifeguards. It will be as good or better than an inservice training, recert, workshop or update clinic. The competition will re-enforce all of the key ideas that an employer would ever want to highlight from any of the above options. No one has ever gone away from a lifeguard competition without picking up something to make them a better lifeguard, plus it is free training for everyone who attends.

There won't be enough time to plan an event.

Typically, a lifeguard competition can be organized and run within four (4) weeks. It is possible however, to do the entire process in as little as two (2) weeks. Conversely one could stretch it out to take more time, depending on how much time you can commit to organizing it. The important thing is to start planning right away once you decide to host a competition.

I don't know enough about competitions to run one.

This won't matter. Our Branch is filled with some of the best competitors, officials and instructors in the country, many of whom do know how to run one. There are plenty of people around who are willing and able to help. In fact, if you did a survey of your staff right now, you would likely find at least two people willing to help out. The BC & Yukon Branch has an entire Committee whose sole focus is competition, so email the committee and ask for assistance.

Lifeguard competitions are too expensive to run.

This need not be the case. There are plenty of competitions run on a cost neutral basis, in fact some competitions have even made money for the pool hosting (not the typical results, but possible). For a starter competition, with the right sponsors, it is entirely possible to run the event without incurring any cost to your facility.

Lifeguard competitions will be too disruptive to the public.

This is a very common myth. Lifeguard competitions are not like swim meets or other group events. Most competition events are actually designed to run with public in the facility without disrupting any normal programming. Many facilities have successfully advertised their competitions and used them as a way to draw members of the public into the facilities, rather than it being a deterrent.

We can't get enough volunteers.

There are lots of places to find volunteers. Going through your pool’s upper level swimming lessons and your Bronze programs is a great place to start, or recruit from user groups at your pool. In addition, there are many organizations that require their members do volunteer/community service as part of their programming. Start asking around and you will find the volunteers needed to make it work.

Our pool is too small to host an event.

Your pool is never too small. You can do an internal competition in lieu of your regular Inservice, or as a screening tool for new hires. You could do a mini-competition with fewer events than a typical competition to try it out for the first time. You could connect with other smaller pools that are nearby (in neighbouring communities) and work together with them to plan a competition. No matter what, there is a way to host a successful competition at any pool.

Won't hosting a lifeguard competition be too much work?

Initially hosting a competition will require some work, however once established, the amount of work is greatly reduced. There are many resources available to anyone wishing to host a lifeguard competition; start by asking the Competition Committee for ideas. To discuss hosting a lifeguard competition, or anything competition related email the committee at


Member Services Update

Award Processing
  • We are processing awards within 2 weeks of receiving your test sheets.  The faster they get to us, the faster the candidate gets their certification card.
  • If there is a problem with the test sheet, processing will be delayed.  Be sure to check that the rosters are complete before submitting for processing.    

Ordering Materials
We have one method for ordering – through our website – this ensures you get:
  • Accurate pricing
  • Efficient order processing
  • Access to all materials available by logging into our website
There has been a change to how to order NL course materials:
  • Full course – when you order an Alert manual, you will automatically get a Candidate Workbook and a temp card.  If you have some manuals from last year, give the office a call and we will send you what you need to even out your supplies.  In the past we would send a course package for 12 candidates which led to a waste of candidate materials if you didn’t have 12 in your course.
  • Recert – just order NL temp cards.  The Recert Conductor has access to all current materials on our website and should be printing what they need for the recert.
  • Recert Guides are also on our website; you can order them from us and pay for shipping (the cost of the guide is now included in the candidate fee) or you can print them yourself.
If you are a member of the Branch Affiliate group you can log in and access the program guide, candidate fees, leadership lists, graphics and other important affiliate material.  Contact Kathy if you need assistance. 


Lifesaving Instructor Trainer Course

This clinic is designed for experienced Lifesaving Instructors who are interested in developing their leadership skills in a 'train-the-trainer' program. Lifesaving Instructor Trainers develop both an extensive knowledge of Lifesaving programs as well as a clear understanding of the teaching and evaluating competencies expected of LSI candidates.  The LSIT certification is required to become an NL Instructor Trainer and a First Aid Instructor Trainer.

This course provides the Instructor Trainer candidate with the background, information and skills needed to train new Lifesaving Instructors. It includes the following:
  • Defining your role as an Instructor Trainer
  • Teaching instructor candidates
  • Evaluating instructor candidates
  • Course management
  • Course administration
  • Use of Lifesaving Society resources
The course includes:
  •  Pre-course assignments as assigned by the Branch Trainer
  • •    Peer teaching topics as assigned by the Branch Trainer
  • •    2 post-course apprenticeship (1 full course, 1 recert)
•    Current LSI (recerted at least once)
•    Taught a minimum of 4 Bronze courses
•    18 years old

Location:   Bonsor Recreation Centre, Burnaby
Dates:        May 17, 18, 19
Times:       09:00 to 18:00
Cost:           $200.00

Location:   Thompson/Okanagan Region
Dates:        Fall  2014
Times:       09:00 to 18:00
Cost:          $200.00

National Lifeguard Instructor Course

The NL Instructor Course teaches new instructors how to deliver the NL program. Objectives include:
  • To develop an understanding of the principles on which the NL program is based
  • To emphasize and explore, through actual experiences and examples, teaching approaches appropriate to the NL award

  • To provide NL Instructor candidates with the knowledge and resources they need to organize, plan, and manage NL courses
  • To explore NL evaluation items, criteria, and performance standards, as well as the roles of and responsibilities of NL Instructors in evaluating NL candidates
  • To introduce or review evaluation methods suitable for evaluating lifeguarding NL candidates
  • To review administrative policy and procedures pertaining to the teaching and evaluation of NL candidates
The course includes:
  • 3 pre-course assignments covering knowledge, course resources and standards
  • 3 peer teaching assignments that candidates will prepare before the start of the course
  • 1 post-course apprenticeship completed within 1 year
  • Current NL (recerted once)
  • Current LSI 
  • 18 years old
  • Taught  a minimum of 2 Bronze courses
National Lifeguard Instructor Course Dates

Kenn Borek Aquatic Centre
May 16, 17, 18, 19  2014 - 1:00pm - 10:00pm

Walnut Grove Community Centre, Langley
July 28, 29, 30, 31 - 09:00 - 18:00
Application deadline July 7, 2014
Pre-course assignments due April 11

Canada Games Aquatic Centre - Kamloops
Oct 10, 11, 12, 13 - 09:00 - 18:00
Application deadline Sept 19, 2014
Pre-course assignments due Oct 3

2014 Calendar

Get the latest information on our Events page
Swim to Survive application deadline 
May 2, 2014
National Drowning Prevention Week
July 20 to 26, 2014
Canadian Pool Lifeguard  Championships
 April 26, 27, 2014 - Kinsmen Sports Centre, Edmonton
Canadian Lifeguard Emergency Response Championship 
May 9 – May 11 - Canada Games Centre, Halifax 
Schon Cup Beach Championship
July 19, 2014 - Kits Beach, Vancouver
Barnsley Branch Lifeguard  Championship 
August 22 and 23, 2014 - Location to be determined
Surf Nationals 
Aug 22 to 24, 2014 – Parlee Beach, New Brunswick
Find a  Course!  Search our website for courses in your area.

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