Coronavirus impact changing how lifeguards train, perform CPR

The coronavirus pandemic is changing some parts of the job for local lifeguards.

With city pools in Houston still closed, the YMCA of Greater Houston said its swimming facilities have seen quite a bit of traffic since reopening in June.

“We were told we would not change our standard of care to open our doors,” said Chris Bradford, association director of aquatics.

While the training for lifeguards has not changed, some of the equipment has. The YMCA purchased blue filters for its guards to use during CPR.

“It’s called a viral bacterial filter and it keeps the transmission of COVID-19 from going from one person to the other,” Bradford said.

The device, which filters out germs, gets attached to a mask that goes on the patient.

“If you’re administering breaths through that mask, or you’re practicing, if I blow into it while I’m practicing with another lifeguard, that lifeguard can contract it if I do not have a viral bacterial filter,” Bradford said.

That’s not the only change.

Lifeguards are disinfecting more and swimmers can only use the pool by reservation to control the number of people inside.

Bradford said all of the YMCA’s pools now have the filters, though they haven’t had to use one so far.