Emergency service and security personnel are receiving lifeguard training this week as part of an initiative from the Department of Community, Youth and Sports Services (DCYSS).
According to the department’s mandate for ‘Creating the Ideal Montserrat Citizen’ they have partnered with colleagues at Bard College at Simon’s Rock to offer a Water Safety / Lifeguard Certification Program. The one-week program which began today, Monday April 11th, has 13 participants who are members of the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS), Montserrat Fire & Rescue Services (MFRS) and the Royal Montserrat Defense Force (RMDF).
The aim of the program is to train proficient swimmers in executing water safety practices and procedures. “Through the implementation of this program we hope to create a positive impact and instill a feeling of confidence for sea bathers and other users of our beaches to feel safer in and around the waters of Montserrat, as well as creating a community culture that embraces the water surrounding the island,” says course instructor, Bill Meier. Meier is the Athletic Director at Bard’s College at Simon’s Rock and has a passion for swimming and aquatic life.
Prior to the commencement of training, the participants were engaged in a blended online learning course. The week will comprise of two days of pool sessions to practice simulation rescues of varying difficulties and three days of practical beach training. At the end of the training, with their newly developed skills and imparted knowledge, all participants are expected to be certified lifeguards.
Last Saturday, the department facilitated a Water Safety Awareness program for children. This was held at Old Road Bay and saw over 20 children in attendance. Children were exposed to identifying various dangers in and around the waters and how best to navigate
dangerous situations. The children ended the afternoon with practice sessions on floating, swimming and being safe whilst sea bathing.