Lifeguards in the process of recertifying their credentials practice their skills for dealing with specific situations during a session last weekend at the pool prior to it’s reopening on Monday. (Tom Best photo)

Pool offers subsidized lifeguard training

The Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre is now offering subsidized lifeguard training.

The Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre is now offering subsidized lifeguard training.

The pool certainly shows what a small facility is capable of as it runs non-stop from before dawn to well after dusk most of the year. Manager Tamara Gillis said one problem this year has been one which seems to be plaguing businesses of all sizes across the country and that is lack of staff.

In a facility such as this, she indicated it is not possible to just pick up people with no background and qualifications and have them start to work on the pool deck. By law, they must have a minimum skill level which has been achieved through courses taken with certified instructors.

In other words, those courses can’t be taken on-line. They have to be done in an aquatic environment, most often a pool.

Gillis said there is an added incentive to take these courses now. Once courses are completed and the candidates have finished a certain duration of employment, those course fees will be reimbursed.

Courses include those necessary for first aid, teaching swimming and lifeguarding. Some of these courses might occur over a single weekend while others are usually conducted over a longer period of time.

Once qualified, like holders of a driver’s licences, they are usually qualified across the country.

Last weekend, a small number of candidates were in the process of recertifying their qualifications by practicing skills which they do not use very often such as spinal injury removals.

Gillis said there is still room on the staff for more lifeguards and instructors and while there will be courses to train new staff, there is certainly room for experienced members. Those interested should contact her at by September 28 for more specific information and to arrange for any necessary screening appointments.

Meanwhile, Smithers might not have the biggest pool in the world but it’s certainly a busy one and that industry does not come about without wear and tear on the facility and it’s equipment.

Gillis said she was very pleased with the annual pool draining and maintenance which had just ended and was looking forward to reopening the facility. In addition, to various cleaning and maintenance procedures which can only be done with the pool drained, other upgrading had been accomplished such as new wood on the sauna walls.

Regular facility users are anxious to get back into the facility for swimming, the fitness centre, the climbing walls and the squash courts.

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