Life Of A Wild Water West Lifeguard: Not A Walk In The Park

Lifeguard Go Through Hours Of Training, Audits Once A Month

With up to 250,000 visitors every season, Wild Water West trains 60 to 70  lifeguards each summer. While the perception is that lifeguards have a relaxing job, it’s anything but. They go through hours of training, and are audited once a month. On Monday, they received their first one of the season.

Sadie Swier grew up going to Wild Water West, and always wanted to be a lifeguard. It’s been five years since she first learned all the work involved.

Swier said, “At first, it was very challenging to learn everything. That first year it’s a huge learning curve.”

Two hours before the park even opens, the lifeguards are performing spinal injury rescues, rapid extractions, CPR, and using AED’s.

“They have weekly in-services that they must pass in order to keep on the schedule,” said Wild Water West Aquatics Manager Emily McNamara.

Not only do these lifeguards train twice a week, they’re audited by Ellis & Associates three times each season.

McNamara said, “The lifeguards have no idea that she’s here. They’re just performing their day to day jobs.”

On Monday, an auditor showed up undercover and filmed more than a dozen lifeguards. The auditor looks for proper attire, if the guards are ‘changing out’ when they’re supposed to, and whether they’re scanning the entire pool.

“Six one thousand, seven one thousand, so then you start over,” said McNamara.

The lifeguards also perform those rescue scenarios; another is locating Timmy the dummy in the pool.

“She has 10 seconds to see that VAT mannequin,” said McNamara while reviewing the auditor’s video.

While the park received a 100 percent score on their audit, they say the real reward is knowing their lifeguards are ready for anything.

Lifeguards at Wild Water West perform around 200 rescues each summer. In the 28 years that the water park has been open, no one has been seriously injured.

(Video Coming Soon)

Categories: Local News, News, News Top Story, Sioux Falls-imported, South Dakota

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