Livesaving instruction course teaches valuable skills

Justin Crann
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Lifesaving instruction students Shawn Stephens, Elizabeth Crawford, Vanessa Nuefeld and Austin Howe practice demonstration of resuscitation techniques during their class Sunday.

The Kinsmen Sportsplex has been offering lifesaving training to Moose Javian swimmers and members of it’s staff.

“This is a course for people who will be instructing lifesaving learn-to-swim programs,” said Shelly Howe, who instructs the swim and lifesaving instructor course. “After finishing this course, (students) will be able to teach everything from the parent and tot up to the bronze cross courses, so they’ll be teaching parenthood classes, preschool classes, learn-to-swim and some lifesaving classes.”

Among the skills being developed in students of the livesaving instruction course are how to lead and teach a class, and how to demonstrate CPR and the application of a defibrilattion device.

The course is a 42 to 44 hour program done over five consecutive days, with class sizes ranging from five to twelve students, said Howe. The cost of enrolment is $280.

In order to take the course, students have to have achieved the prerequisites.

“(They) have to have the bronze cross, and you have to take your bronze medallion in order to get your bronze cross,” said Howe. “In order to get your bronze medallion, you must be 13 years of age or older.”

Some of Howe’s students are lifeguards working in the Sportsplex who are “extending their training” in order to teach swimming lessons, as well, she said.

Howe, who has been a lifesaving instruction trainer for seven years, said the skills developed in the course are valuable, even outside of the swimming environment.

“Even if they don’t spend a lot of time in the workplace teaching swimming lessons, the skills are trasferable,” she said. “For instance, the resuscitation they’re doing, that’s really a life skill they can take wherever they go.”

Howe also noted the value of the skills in future career paths. 

“It’s really great training for those going on to post-secondary education, because almost every post-secondary school has a pool, so they’re set up for a job already,” she said. “And they can even transfer the skills to other aspects of their lives down the road. They may not teach swimming lessons ... they may each to other groups of people, and so the theory of learning and teaching is transferable for sure.”

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