The Obligations Of The Lifeguard | ALA


    The essential figure for the management of a swimming pool or bathing establishment is the certified lifeguard. The importance of this figure is widely recognized. The American Lifeguard Association actively deals with the lifeguard training and qualification of those who want to fill this role and defines the lifeguard as ” the specialist who watches over the safety of those who attend swimming pools and seaside or lake bathing establishments, capable and expert in rescuing those who find themselves in a dangerous situation in the water”.

    To carry out one or the other task, it is necessary to have a specific suitability patent.  Specifically, those who obtain the suitability patent following courses organized by the organizations. They must prevent accidents in the water or deal with them if they occur, by implementing those techniques of rescue and first aid acquired during the training course and periodically updated; regulate bathing activities by monitoring user behaviour; periodically check the chemistry of the water in the pools and the hygienic conditions of the environment.

    Lifeguard Responsibilities

    Furthermore, the skills acquired in the lifeguard training course allow them to intervene adequately to practice first aid techniques, even in the case of asphyxia and cardiac arrest. During his working hours, the “lifeguard” must always implement the public surveillance and rescue service and, at the same time, know how to manage the emergency and guarantee safety in the water, safeguarding the safety of swimmers. To perform his “social function” in the best possible way, the lifeguard must respect the prohibition against leaving his service station, during the course of his work shift, even if he receives an order to that effect from his employer or the concessionaire or of the bathing establishment in which he carries out his duties. 

    The lifeguard assistant replies, in fact, in the first person about the safety of users, both from a civil and criminal point of view. Therefore, whenever he moves away from his post not being able to perform the job assigned to him in the best way, he is liable to an administrative sanction by the Port Authority, even if, as already mentioned above, the removal was determined by an employer’s order. 

    To this, it must be added that the responsibility of the lifeguard who moves away from his position assumes relevance from a criminal point of view if this results in a delay in the assistance provided to a possible drowning victim. This liability can be excluded only if the same lifeguard is engaged in a rescue intervention against another bather. whenever he moves away from his post not being able to carry out the job assigned to him in the best possible way, he is liable to an administrative sanction by the Port Authority, even if, as already mentioned above, the removal was determined by an order from the employer. 

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    Number of Lifeguards for a Pool

    As regards the number of lifeguards needed in relation to the surface of the pools, the provisions of the safety regulations for sports facilities must be taken into account, which in art. This service must be disengaged by at least two lifeguards for pools with bodies of water with a surface greater than 400 square meters. In the case of adjacent and clearly visible pools, the number of lifeguards must be calculated by adding the surfaces of the pools and subsequently applying the ratio of lifeguards/water surfaces at a rate of 1 every 500 m2. For pools over 1,000 square meters, a lifeguard must be added every 500 square meters.

    A certified lifeguard is a well trained lifesaver who is able to handle every situation in or near the water. The American Lifeguard Association has lifeguard training programs on various levels to make you a trained, skilled and certified lifesaver for the people having fun in water.