Horsham Aquatic Centre lifeguards on duty this summer

WHILE many Wimmera residents are relaxing by the pool these holidays, lifeguards at the Horsham Aquatic Centre are still on high alert.

Centre operations team leader Tammy Van Duren said the centre had more than 20 lifeguards working this summer. 

”Our lifeguards range from high school aged teenagers right through to mums and dads over 40 years old,” she said.

“We have regular university students who come back over summer to help out and we have our permanent staff who also work in other areas of the centre.”

Ms Van Duren said summer was the busiest time of the year for the centre.

“We have people coming through town, grandparents bringing in their grandchildren and also Wimmera residents and children enjoying the school holidays,” she said.

”Our lifeguards are there to make sure people enjoy the pool safely but they are also there in case of an emergency.

“To some, it might look like a lifeguard just stands there and does nothing, but we are always scanning, always counting patrons and we are always prepared for those who need help.”

Ms Van Duren said it was important for people to understand that lifeguards were not babysitters.

“We are watching out for all patrons in and out of the water,” she said.

“We see all too often children wander off and end up getting out of their depth because the parent or guardian wasn’t watching.

“Parents start talking to someone or they are on their phone and that’s when we have to respond. 

“We want people to put their phone away, watch their children and help us by making sure they are playing safe.”

Ms Van Duren said all children under 10 years old must be fully supervised by an adult or guardian over 16 years old.

“Children under 5 must be within arms reach of a parent or guardian at all times,” she said.

Ms Van Duren said lifeguards were fully trained through lifesaving Victoria and had to update their qualifications every year.

“They have to do regular in house training during the year, which can include practicing spinal rescues and emergency evacuations,” she said.

“Lifeguards also have first aid training as well as CPR and defibrillator training.”