How to hire a lifeguard in the UK

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Most of us associate lifeguards with tourist-packed summer beaches or the local leisure centre, but there are other occasions where the presence of a professional lifeguard is a sensible precaution, or even an insurance requirement. Pool parties at public venues, celebrity PR events, film shoots and charity events are just some of the occasions requiring a lifeguard. An Internet search should provide details of qualified professionals for hire. Organisations and leisure centres have a more formal approach.

Private/Charity event hire

Write down relevant details about your event. The lifeguard will want to know: - Date and location of event - Type of water involved i.e. river, pool or sea. - Number of people participating. - Type of water activity e.g. swimming or boating.

Search the Internet for lifeguards near the location. Your search will probably turn up private individuals, companies and teaching organisations. Study a range of results rather than opt for the first.

Send out an enquiry email first. Speed of response isn't always an indicator of good service, but often it's a good sign. Follow this up with a phone conversation. This allows you to assess the lifeguard's personality and suitability for the occasion.

Check out the lifeguard's qualifications. The Royal Life Saving Society is the primary provider of the National Pool and National Beach Lifeguard qualifications, which are taught by colleges and private training organisations. These are typically referred to as NPLQ and NBLQ. Also check that the lifeguard has a first aid certificate and practical knowledge of resuscitation techniques.

Ask if the lifeguard has a Disclosure and Barring check. This replaces the Criminal Records Bureau check. It is especially advisable to ask for this if children are involved in the event.

Permanent hire

Advertise for a lifeguard in local newspapers, specialist magazines or via a recruitment agency. Leisure centres and other types of organisations offering permanent lifeguard jobs follow standard recruitment techniques when hiring.

Assess the candidate's suitability for the role using the formal interview and an assessment of swimming ability and life saving techniques.

Check the validity of the qualifications, and make sure the applicant has a Disclosure and Barring check. Follow up on references from previous employers.

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