Lifeguards mark each life saved

A lifeguard keeping watch at Hannibal Aquatic Center

Lifeguards at community pools are largely responsible for children's safety in the summer months.

With temperatures rising over a hundred degrees, more people are heading to the pool to cool off.

That is one reason why lifeguards at Hannibal Aquatic Center are continuously training in rescue techniques.

"The first thing that went through my mind was my training that I received when I first started working here," lifeguard Joseph Bridges said, "So, I sprinted into action and I saved their lives."

"Me personally I've saved two kids that were active drowners," lifeguard Ian McKenzie said.

The two lifeguards that share an accomplishment, they are now reminded of it on a daily basis.

"The arm bands, they represent how many saves we've received," Bridges explained, pointing to the three he has earned since the pool opened this summer.

He said those he rescued were all between the ages of 5- to 10-years-old.

"We've had about 10 or 12 instances where we've had to send the guard in after people. We had I think two or three last week alone," Assistant Manager Drake Taylor explained.

He says often times when families come to the pool, young kids are unsure how deep the water is or get disoriented when they jump in or fall in from the slides. The important thing for the lifeguards to learn is to be prepared so they are not disoriented coming to the rescue.

"You don't really think, you just act. With all the training we do, and all the inservices you just see someone going down, you recognize the victim, and before you know it, you're pulling them out of the water," McKenzie said.