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Red Cross anticipates 'huge' demand for lifeguards in 2009

The demand for American Red Cross lifeguards this year is likely to be huge. Now is a good time to take a Red Cross lifeguard training or enhancement training course for lifeguards. "Being a Red Cross-trained lifeguard is a great way to save lives," Scott Cook, director of Aquatics at Wilderness Experiences Unlimited in Southwick, said. "Young people can gain valuable work skills and life experience and work as lifeguards through high school and college. For retired adults or those looking for a meaningful way to spend their free time, lifeguarding presents a great opportunity to remain active and physically fit." The American Red Cross is the leading lifeguard training organization in the country, training approximately 190,000 lifeguards annually over the last few years, Cook added. The Red Cross released a newly revised Lifeguarding Program that reflects the latest lifesaving techniques in a format to fit busy schedules. It includes intense, hands-on skill practice designed to strengthen decision-making and response skills and provides the opportunity for training in the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Recertification training and career enhancement courses such as waterfront training and oxygen administration also are available for currently certified lifeguards. Individuals wanting to become lifeguards must be at least 15 years old upon completion of lifeguard training and must successfully complete a skills pre-test. To prepare individuals ages 11 to 14 to take lifeguard training for future work as lifeguards, the Red Cross offers Guard Start: Lifeguarding Tomorrow. This course will be taught at WEU on Jan. 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12. There is limited enrollment sign up early to avoid disappointment! WEU's 30' by 60' heated indoor swimming pool, with on site classrooms, allows us to treat our students to the highest quality training available all in one location. Stop by 526 College Highway, Southwick, or call 569-1287 for information.

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