Guard signals are vital for lifeguarding, whether it's at a beach or a pool. The loud environment, and the need to communicate quickly and clearly, has created a need for signals. For swimming pools lifeguards usually use whistle and hand signals. But for waterfront they may also use flags, as well as communicate by mega phones, loud speakers, or even walkie-talkies.
In order for signals to be effective they must be easy to understand, and easy to use. Although there is no standardized set of signals, the ones below are quite common. All signals should accompany whether it's a major or minor, and the signal for that emergency (if such a signal exists).
Whistle and Hand Signals for Minors and Majors
- Minor: two short sharp blasts, with one arm extended outwards as if asking someone to stop
- Major: one long very loud blast, with one arm making a fist and raising the hand above the head in front of them, and moving it up and down a couple of times
Hand Signals for Specific Conditions
- Heart attack: one fist gently tapping the chest area
- Spinal: one hand tapping the back of the neck
- Asthma: making the action of taking a puffer
- Missing person: one hand on the forehead as if looking for someone, the other hand indicating the height of the missing person
- Stroke: hand open with fingers together, in front of forehead, as if dividing the head in half
Don't forget to use the most obvious tool for communicating - your voice!!