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Swim to Survive

200 Children Swim to Survive in Rural BC

The Lifeguard Outreach Society, who were featured in the July 2015 Edition of the Lifeliner, traveled around BC this summer teaching the Swim to Survive program in communities who do not have easy access to swim instructors. Nearly 200 individuals received essential drowning prevention skills in 8 remote communities; Pender Island, Skeetchestn First Nation (Savona) , Clearwater, Kamloops, Simpwc First Nation (Barriere), Greenwood, Rock Creek and Ts'kw'aylaxw First Nation (Lillooet).

Use of innovative networking with community leaders was crucial to bringing out participants. Additionally, the Lifeguard Outreach Society's strong social media presence was used to share photographs, videos and information helping to extend their reach to many more communities than their original goal.
Water temperature was a constant challenge in delivering an effective program and their team quickly learned to make every moment in the cold water count. Instructors began each session by teaching water safety on land then carrying those lessons into the water to teach the fundamental Swim to Survive skills; Roll, Tread and Swim. Beyond teaching school aged children swimming and lifesaving skills, parents were also engaged, learning how to be bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation.  

The Lifeguard Outreach Society's goal is to expand their program in 2016 and work to raise funds to reach more remote communities. To learn more about Lifeguard Outreach Society please check out their video below. If you would like to get involved or know of a remote community that would benefit from their program, please contact them at info@lgos.ca .
Is there an exciting lifesaving program or initiative happening at your facility or community? If so, we would love to feature it in an upcoming edition of the Lifeliner. Contact Krystyna at krystynad@lifesaving.bc.ca for more information.

Program Profile

"I quickly realized that he was just like all other students" 

The Lifesaving Society aims to be all-inclusive in its mission to prevent drowning and water-related incidents. We work to accommodate all those who wish to receive training and where possible, provide lifesaving skills if adaptations can be made to meet the standard.

Last month Tommy Leung was certified in Standard First Aid by First Aid Instructor Marty Wickham, the owner of Lifesaving Society Affiliate Life Preservers First Aid. Like the thousands of individuals who completed first aid training through the Branch last year, Tommy now has the skills to save a life. What makes Tommy unique is that he is completely blind.

We recently spoke to Tommy and Marty about their experience.

Have you taken a First Aid course before?

Tommy: This was my first time. I had looked into taking a course before however other legally blind people told me it would be difficult to find someone willing to meet my needs. I knew I would need to let the course provider know up front that I was blind so I was expecting there would be challenges. Initially, I called a couple of places regarding courses who never returned my messages or flat out said that they would not be able to teach me. I was glad when Life Preservers was open to trying this out even though it was their first time training someone who could not see.  

What was your experience in the course?

Tommy: At first Life Preservers wasn't sure if they were able to certify me but they told me to come to the course, try it out, get trained and see if I can meet the standard for certification. 

Going into the course I didn't know what to expect but I knew Marty would be open to helping and training me. Life Preservers had ensured that I would get more individual attention and even though I wasn't able to use the manual, I was provided with handouts that I could scan using my own software.

During the course there were a lot of hands-on elements and Marty made sure that all of the equipment was handed to me so that I could feel each item and know what was going on. During one activity we were broken into groups to put our ideas on poster paper. Marty read out all of the projects and was very descriptive of the drawings which made me laugh.

The other students were also very open and helpful. I had my guide dog, MacBeth, with me and the other students really loved dogs and came to say hi to him and I. During breaks and lunch some students who knew the area helped me take MacBeth outside.

How did you feel at the end of the course?

Tommy: I was excited to meet the standard and receive my certification. I feel that this course was a good confidence builder for me. I know what I can do given different situations. I know I could be calm and help out in any way I can.

What advice would you give to instructors when teaching students with visual impairments or special needs?

Tommy: I would tell instructors to keep an open mind. Going in I didn't know how it would work out. It worked because Marty was willing to work together with me to make it happen and was willing to answer any questions I had along the way. Getting resources ahead of time, especially electronically, can be very helpful as they can be adapted in many ways.

Would you recommend Lifesaving Society First Aid courses?

Tommy: I volunteer with an organization that serves youth with visual impairments. It would be great to arrange a first aid training session for them that may not include certification but would provide them with a great educational experience. It would be wonderful for everybody.

I would recommend this course to other people who take first aid. In 3 years when my certification expires I know I will come back and train with Marty at Life Preservers First Aid.
Marty Wickham (l), pictured with Tommy, has been teaching first aid for 3 years and started Life Preservers First Aid after teaching tennis for 25 years in Toronto.

What was your experience teaching Tommy?
                 
Marty: I was a little apprehensive at first having Tommy in the class as I hadn't had a visually impaired student in my class previously. I wasn't sure about safety concerns as we had 12 students as well as how I would balance my teaching and attention to all students. Tommy was brilliant!! I quickly realized that he was just like all other students and just needed as much tactile learning as possible. I would show him once by letting him feel the manikins and he would repeat it right afterwards. Everyone loved having Tommy and MacBeth in the class.
 
What resources did you find most effective when teaching a student with a visual impairment?                   

Marty: I tried to put everything in Tommy's hands as we talked about it such as a pocket mask, Epi-pens, manikins, etc. I tried to be as graphic as possible in my descriptions and to speak slowly. I also checked in with him often. 
 
How did having Tommy and MacBeth in your class affect your other students?   

Marty: Tommy's classmates warmed up to him quickly. He was just like any other student. They helped me guide Tommy and MacBeth to the washroom and practice area. It was a very open and relaxed environment. 
 
In what ways did this challenge you as an instructor? 

Marty: Physically it wasn't a challenge as Tommy learned very tactically and I was always hands-on with him. Trying to make sure that I spoke slowly and descriptively while lecturing was very important. I learned that Tommy was just like all other students despite his impairment. I would be open to having other students with impairments in my class.

What advice would you give to other instructors looking to accommodate students with special needs? 

Marty: Treat impaired students as you would any other while keeping in mind their limitations. Give them a chance to learn as you would anyone else. Your students will rally and help as much as they can.

Thank you for sharing your story Marty and Tommy. If you have any questions regarding Lifesaving Society training programs, please contact the Branch at 604-299-5450.

Programs

Boat Safety Continues Through Education

With your assistance, we are proud to have trained over 11,000 BC & Yukon boaters in the 15 years the Lifesaving Society has been offering Boat Operator Accredited Training (BOAT).  As a result of a recent program review, we have decided that the BC & Yukon Branch of the Lifesaving Society will no longer be offering BOAT as of January 1, 2016. 
 
In the past 5 years, we have seen participation drop by over 90% to the point where it is no longer viable to continue supporting this program.  You have likely seen the same trend since the September 2009 deadline by which all boaters were required to have their Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). 
 
We can assure you that boating safety will remain high on our educational agenda as we continue to see over 30% of drownings in BC are boat-related.  Our WaterWise Boat Safety Team will continue to offer many effective methods of boater education including school presentations, boat launch checks, community events and other ways of providing boat safety knowledge.  The Team will be entering its 17th year of outreach education in 2016 and represents just one way of providing boaters with safety knowledge.
 
For Affiliates who have been offering the BOAT program, we ask that you return all exams and support materials to the Branch Office by November 30, 2015.
 
At this point, most boaters pursue their PCOC on-line and there are several well-established organizations offering that option. If you wish to continue offering an opportunity for boaters to obtain their PCOC, other providers can be found on the Transport Canada website at http://www.tc.gc.ca
 
We thank you for choosing to offer the BOAT program and in doing so supporting the Lifesaving Society as a not-for-profit provider. We look forward to continuing to work with you to provide lifesaving education to meet your community needs and to save lives.

Yukon

RPAY Success Starts with A Spring Aquatics Workshop

Another successful summer season has come to an end for the energetic individuals who worked in small northern communities in the Yukon this summer. 

To prepare them for the busy summer season, the Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon (RPAY) hosted its Spring Aquatics Workshop in the beautiful Village of Haines Junction the week of May 11-15.

The purpose of this annual event is to provide rural pool managers with the tools essential for a successful pool season.  Facilitator extraordinaire, Sean Healy, Branch Past-president, covered a wide range of topics including PoolSafe BC, a Pool Operator primer, a lifeguarding in-service and team building activities.  And they had a lot of fun too!
 
Interested in working in the Yukon next summer? Job opportunities will be posted on lifesaving.bc.ca in February.
Photo left to right: Kirsten (Carcross), Dana (Beaver Creek), Sean Healy, Kasia (Watson Lake), Jocelyn (Ross River), Kait and Becca (Mayo).  Missing: Taylor (Haines Junction).

Competition

Canadian Surf Lifesaving Championships

This summer the Lifesaving Society Nova Scotia Branch and the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service played host to the 2015 Canadian Surf Lifesaving Championships (CSLC). From August 28th to 30th competitors came together at beautiful Rainbow Haven Beach and Martinique Beach in Nova Scotia.

To view the complete results from the CSLC click hereOfficial pictures from the event are available here.

Opportunities

Project Manager - Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan

The Lifesaving Society is currently seeking a full-time Project Manager to work with the Project Steering Committee to coordinate and develop the Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan. This initiative will identify methods for reducing the number of drownings in Canada through addressing recommendations contained in the World Health Organization’s Global Report on Drowning released in November 2014.  A significant component of the Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan will be coordinating a Canadian coalition of stakeholders tasked with developing and implementing drowning prevention strategies. Click here to view the complete job ad.
 

Feature Product

Aquatic Safety Research Group Video Package

We are featuring 3 videos what would be excellent for staff in-service training and National Lifeguard courses.  The videos were produced by Dr. Tom Griffiths’ Aquatic Safety Research Group based out of the Penn State University to help identify challenges faced by lifeguards.  The 3 videos included in this package are; Five Minute Scanning Strategy, Disappearing Dummies: Why Lifeguards Can’t See and Shallow Water Blackout.  All three would be valuable additions for any facility engaged in training and development of lifeguards.  We are offering them as a package for a combined rate of $145, a $40 savings.

Purchase A Video Package

Fall 2015/Winter 2016

Calendar of Events

Ripple Effects Aquatic Workshop
October 21 to 23, 2015
Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier - North Vancouver
2015 World Conference on Drowning Prevention
November 4 to 6
Penang, Malaysia
D.B. Perks Scholarship Application Deadline
January 31, 2016

 
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