May 15 is International Water Safety Day (#IWSD), a great time to shine a light on an exciting collaboration between the American Red Cross and Bahamas Red Cross to bring lifeguard training services to the Bahamas. In areas like the Bahamas, surrounded by beautiful Caribbean waters, knowing what to do in and around the water is crucial. That’s why the American Red Cross worked with the Bahamas Red Cross to provide a new Lifeguard Training Program to the Bahamas where local people have the opportunity to get lifeguard certified. This new opportunity will offer residents a chance to become lifeguards, learn new skills, offer an avenue for future employment, and be ready to respond to water-related emergencies.
About a dozen local people of varying degrees of experience were the first students to take on the challenge of becoming certified lifeguards and trainers. For some, growing up in the Bahamas means growing up near the water but for many of these students, this was their first encounter with formal water safety training.
Each course is a week-long intense training that takes students from the classroom to the pool and to the beach to master critical skills such as CPR, water rescues, First Aid and AED administration and more.
These trainings provide those who are certified, new employment opportunities along the beach and at various pool locations throughout the Bahamas and beyond.
“They have the skill and now can not only save lives which is very, very important but they can earn a living for themselves too,” said Bahamas Red Cross President Terez Curry.
The new program is part of a larger goal to expand the Bahamas Red Cross’ resources to the Bahamian people and improve their lives and communities following the double disaster of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That was the first and real initial push that we had as an organization to provide lifesaving relief and response aid,” said American Red Cross Bahamas Field Representative Amy Bruins. “We’re now looking at longer term partnerships with Bahamas Red Cross and to do things that are more recovery oriented and are getting people back to where they were before Dorian. And now we’re looking at how to bolster the entire system.”
By promoting water safety locally and around the world, the Red Cross is inspiring young swimmers to learn the necessary skills to help save a life. To learn more about our Red Cross work in the Bahamas, visit www.redcross.org/dorian.
For additional resources on water safety for you and your loved ones, visit www.redcross.org/watersafety.
Note: All class participants are required to test negative for COVID-19.