News | 5 November 2021
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Our lifeguards keeping swimmers safe

Meet Fran Smaller and Emma Morrison, two loyal team members from our community pools, dedicated to enhancing people's wellbeing and keeping them safe on the poolside.

Emma Morrison standing with a brown ponytail over her right shoulder, wearing a lifeguards uniform consisting of red shorts and a yellow polo shirt with red first aid pouch slung over her shoulder, looking to her left towards a swimming pool.
Lifeguard Emma Morrison at Tawa Pool.

“I love knowing my job has a direct impact on the wellbeing of our community,” says Fran, Duty Manager at Keith Spry Pool.

Fran has been keeping a keen eye over swimmers here for six years.

“Pools are a community hub that offer so much more than swimming. We are a constant in so many people’s lives that enhance their social, physical and mental wellbeing.”

Emma, a lifeguard at Tawa Pool, began her pool career by teaching others how to swim.

“I originally started as a Swim Instructor and was looking for some more hours while studying at uni. I was already a surf lifeguard, so I figured pool lifeguard was a good fit,” she says.

“After my first year of lifeguarding as a causal, I was really enjoying the job, so decided to go full time, while studying part time, which I have been really enjoying ever since.

Fran Smaller smiling with a long brown ponytail wearing a red polo shirt and red jacket standing in front of a large community swimming pool with lanes.
Keith Spry Pool Duty Manager Fran Smaller.

“After getting the role, I completed training for my Pool Lifeguard Practicing Certificate (PLPC). This was a couple of days training, in the pool and out, and I already held a current first aid certificate,” says Emma.

Fran says being a lifeguard wasn’t part of her original plans but is glad she took a chance on it.

“It’s a career path I never anticipated for myself. I started out part time and learnt quickly there is so much to the role,” she says.

“Pools are a fun and dynamic environment and working as a lifeguard is fulfilling.

“For the Duty Manager role, I hold a PLPC, higher level first aid like Resus level 3 and PHEC (pre-hospital emergency care), technical training for pool operations, leadership training and on-the-ground experience managing shifts and the facility.”

If you're looking for a fun environment where people come first - and you want to make a positive difference to people's lives, then we want to hear from you. Check out our lifeguard job listing on our careers website.

Thankfully, when someone finds themselves overwhelmed or in trouble in the water, our qualified lifeguards are more than capable of helping in stressful and worrying circumstances.

Fran says she has seen some serious incidents.

“I have provided major first aid to a swimmer. She was in the deep end of a pool and had a heart attack in the water. I performed the initial rescue, got her out of the pool. At some points she lost consciousness, it was very scary. Emergency services arrived, and she made a full recovery!”

Emma is looking forward to taking the next step in her career.

“I am going to be a Duty Manager at Thorndon Pool over summer, which is an awesome opportunity and will be a great change of pace, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

A day in the life as a lifeguard

A typical day for Emma: Our early shifts (5.30am-2pm) usually have a busy start with our early morning swimmers but are often quiet during our off-peak times from 8am. We still have a steady stream of customers, but not as many as the early morning, so this is where we tend to get a lot of cleaning and admin tasks done.

Our late shifts (1pm-9.30pm) usually have a lot more customers due to swimming lessons after school and club swimming in the evening, therefore these shifts are lot busier with more fast-flowing customer interaction.

Our daily tasks also include regular testing of the water from each pool to ensure it is within a safe range for our customers.

A typical day for Fran: Depending on the shift its either a 4.30am wake up to start at 5.30am. We have to get the facility set up and ensure it is safe to open to the public.

At 6am the doors open, and it is all go from there. On a late shift we start at 1pm (bit of a sleep in) and take over the facility from the early team.

The day includes supervising poolside, cleaning the facility, water testing, engaging with customers, managing bookings, lifeguard training, managing health and safety issues, leading my team and responding to anything else that comes our way.