Monday, September 20, 2010

Texting while Lifeguarding

Here's a New York Times article about how texting is becoming a problem not only with drivers, but but now with lifeguards.
“This issue has really come out for us this year,” Mr. Fisher said, adding that he had heard several dozen complaints about the practice this summer, compared with none in 2008. “Lives are being endangered, if not already lost, because of text messaging.”

The threat is not hypothetical. At a public pool this summer in Duncan, Ariz., a child panicked in the water and was rescued by an adult visitor. Others at the pool said the lifeguard had been texting, and he was fired, said John Basteen Jr., the town manager.
Back in my lifeguarding days at Graydon Pool, this never would have been a problem. The head lifeguard, who was also my dad, had a strict prohibition against distractions in the stand, and the cell phone of the time, which was a portable transistor radio, was banned while on duty. Dad was afraid somebody might drown while one of his guards was changing stations or adjusting the volume, and that was not acceptable.

I have no doubt that iPods and cell phones would have been similarly banned had they existed at the time.

As an odd aside, I still have a fairly regular dream in which I am sitting in the stand, and I am aware that my eyes are closed. The dream then consists of my struggle to get them open, because I can hear the little villagers playing in the water and I know I should be watching them.


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