YMCA lifeguards learning how to save drowning victims without touching them

Local News

During their run-throughs, the lifeguards bring in a family member so they can practice an in-person rescue

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This week, public pools were allowed to reopen in Ohio, but not all did because they’re still prepping their pools and lifeguards.

Locally, both the Central and Davis YMCAs will reopen their indoor pools on June 1.

Lifeguards are needed and as you can imagine, the preparation for this position has been quite difficult.

“What’s strange and really inconvenient for lifeguard training is that when you’re trying to rescue someone from the water, you can’t be six feet from them. So that’s the dilemma that we’re in,” said Chris Hughes, senior aquatic director for the YMCA of Youngstown.

Hughes said because of COVID-19 safety protocols, most pools are at a standstill with taking in new lifeguards. So, they have to use their previous lifeguards who are already certified.

“The ones that are coming back, we are practicing distant rescues, if you will. So, using the reaching pole and the ring buoy, like those things that are at every hotel pool that anybody can do,” Hughes said.

During their run-throughs, Hughes has the lifeguards bring in a family member so they can practice an in-person rescue.

Youngstown’s parks and recreation director, Dawn Turnage, said the goal when pools reopen in the city is to keep the community and staff safe.

“We just ask everyone to continue to just be patient with us as we continue to understand what is going on and what is needed and understand that safety will be our first measure. Then from there, we’ll make sure we continue to have fun,” she said.

Right now, Turnage has no idea when or if the Northside Pool will open this season.

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