Training lifeguards in Oman

27 November 2017

It’s a hard life for Royal Life Saving WA’s vocational training manager Steve Good. Surrounded by blue skies, palm-tree-lined beaches and calm, turquoise water, Steve annually requalifies the lifeguards of the Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO) Recreation Facility.

Lifeguards practising CPR on a manikin by the pool in OmanIn October each year, Steve endures the long flight from Perth to Muscat in Oman to ensure lifeguards of the PDO recreation facility are requalifying their lifeguard award and further developing their skills in pool lifeguarding and emergency response. The lifeguards are from a variety of countries, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, The Philippines and Oman.

In 2010, the facility had an unfortunate drowning death at one of their facilities. To their credit, they moved quickly to obtain professional training for their lifeguards to reduce the risk of it happening again.

In 2011, Royal Life Saving WA was asked to provide a quote to train their lifeguards. PDO stated that is was not the price that won Royal Life Saving WA the contract, but rather their reputation in the delivery of quality training.

Royal Life Saving WA has been delivering training to the Middle East since then, branching out to Saudi Arabia in 2016, and forming a partnership with the Swimming Federation of Saudi Arabia as well as gym franchise Fitness Time.Two lifeguards in the pool in Oman practising rescues using a rescue tube

In Muscat, the training had a different flavour this year, with the addition of beach emergency response on the back of the yearly lifeguard requalification. A fairly new concept of red-zone training (or high-intensity emergency training) was trialled, which was called “CPR On the Run”. Lifeguards were put through their paces by performing a rescue from the beach; the team had to work together to get the patient from water, to the beach, to the awaiting ambulance at the facility entrance. They had to deal with patient complications along the way such as CPR, AED shocks, first-aid treatment and transporting the patient.

Despite the physical exertion, the lifeguards enjoyed the red-zone training and found it extremely beneficial. Royal Life Saving WA are looking at developing this style of training to our lifeguards here in WA.

Another aspect that has been introduced to the PDO pools over the last few years is the promotion of Watch Around Water, and the importance of parental supervision. Whilst their program is called Pool Safe, many of the principles of Watch Around Watch have been implemented into their program, for instance: children under 5 must be supervised by an adult within arm’s reach, and the use of wrist bands to help with lifeguard identification of these children.

It is great that the professional level of our pool lifeguarding service here in WA is being spread around the world to help make swimming safer in countries not normally associated with swimming or water safety.