Lifeguard fired for texting on the job

On November 16th I wrote about unsafe lifeguards who were text messaging or sending “instant messages” while on the job. In response, I received the following:

I am an Aquatic Manager and just yesterday I terminated a lifeguard for the exact same actions. It happened once and there were no second chances. He is lucky to have been fired and not be on his way to court to try and explain to a family why he let their loved one drown.

Lifeguards are not there as a courtesy or an accessory-they have be ready to respond as every single person who enters the pool is a risk. Unsupervised kids are not the only ones drown. Experienced swimmers can suffer from sudden cardiac arrest or “shallow water blackout” and be gone without a sound in seconds. If a lifeguard on duty is doing ANYTHING besides scanning the water, they are putting everyone at risk, whether there are 2 people in the pool, or 200. This includes cleaning around the pool, eating on the stand, holding extended conversations with bystanders, listening to music on headphones, taking chemical readings and of course, texting or talking on a phone or radio. In a situation that involves coaching, teaching swim lessons, or water fitness, there should be TWO lifeguards-the teacher cannot teach and guard.

It is appalling that this lifeguard was not immediately reprimanded for his actions with suspension or termination. And yet, this is happening all over the U.S. One just has to hope that an innocent person won’t lose their life in this terrifying and senseless way because a lifeguard couldn’t go a few hours without being connected to the outside world. Submitted on 2009/11/26 at 8:02a

Thank you for your prompt action, your comment and acting in the safety the swimmers at your pool.

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