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Why Lifeguards in the US are changing the way they train!

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Your training needs to give trainees the best chance to respond well in a genuine emergency. How can you do that? By making your training as realistic as possible!

The Pool Rescue manikin was designed following a conversation with a working lifeguard who was frustrated with the disjointed manner of training currently in place. Switching between a half torso (which was not very representative of a real unresponsive casualty underwater) and volunteers did not accurately represent a real rescue in her opinion, or give her the opportunity to accurately assess her team’s skills and so she wondered if we could come up with a solution.

The Pool Rescue manikin was developed over several months, with extensive testing and feedback from lifeguards across the world. It is now available in two sizes, adult (30kg) and junior (16kg) to give trainees the opportunity to learn what it is like to recover a completely unresponsive, life-sized casualty.

The manikin is available in 20 countries across the world, with lifeguards from Europe to Canada making the switch to using a Ruth Lee Pool Rescue manikin for their training. After testing, RLSS UK has recently added the Ruth Lee Pool rescue manikin into the list of approved equipment for training and assessment for all swimming pool-based qualifications and awards.

This manikin allows trainees to complete a full simulated rescue, allowing trainers to better assess t skills. In particular, it is favoured for deep water retrieval, as it more accurately represents an unresponsive casualty than equipment currently used, and using it to tow (instead of a volunteer) is quite an eye-opener for the weaker swimmers… if you don’t tow with an effective rhythm and sufficient strength, the manikin will start to sink, just like an unconscious body would (compared to a volunteer who helpfully holds his breath to stay above water!).

Our US Distributors, Rescue Technology are experts in rescue equipment and sell products across the US. Recently, they took the Ruth Lee Pool Rescue manikin to the Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP) Annual Conference in Texas, where it was showcased to delegates and trialled in training sessions.

At the conference, delegates were able to meet with industry experts including Pete DeQuincy, who is aquatics manager at East Bay Regional Park District in Oakland, California. He is an American Red Cross Instructor Trainer in water safety, lifeguarding, and emergency medical response and has served on the Association of Aquatic Professionals board. During the conference, he conducted two classes utilizing the Pool Rescue Manikins with team member Jennifer Wegener, of the Emporia Recreation Commission, Emporia, Kansas. 

Jen was so impressed with the manikin that she is now training her teams with the Pool Rescue Manikin and said,

Having the opportunity to try out the manikin during the conference (AOAP) opened my eyes to how inefficient our current submersible manikin was.

I really wanted my lifeguard team to understand how different a submerged victim feels. Your manikin comes so much closer than the equipment we currently have.

Within the last two weeks, we have already used your manikin 4 times more than the equipment that we have had for the last four years!

My team has a better understanding of the feeling of an actual victim.

We are very impressed with the manikin and are truly thankful for the opportunity to have one in our facility.


Pete and his team created a full playlist of videos using the manikin on YouTube. You can see footage of different scenarios here:



You can also read more testimonials from working lifeguards here

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