Lifeguards play an important role in our summer fun, keeping an eye out on us and making sure we don’t drown. These heroes help us stay safe in the summer sun, whether it be at a public pool or a day on the beach. Around the world, 1.2 million people every year drown - roughly two people per minute. No statistics are kept about how many lives are saved by lifeguards, but one family was able to witness the importance of a lifeguard first hand.
15 year old Jack Viglianco from Lakewood, Ohio took a summer job as a lifeguard in 2017. He didn’t realize just what a huge impact his decision would have on the lives of one family. Jack and all of the other lifeguards employed by Lakewoods Aquatic Department had just finished a 5 hour orientation the day before.
Jack clocked in for his very shift, and then things changed for him. Not even 20 minutes after taking on the mantle of lifeguard, he spotted a child drowning and leapt into action.
He had barely begun his shift when he heard a child screaming out for help as he struggled to swim. Without hesitation, he leapt into action to save the life of the struggling child. The child was in the stage called active drowning, where they are still above water and able to breathe, but are struggling to stay that way. The four year old boy survived the incident, suffering no injuries from this horrible accident.
Of the 1.2 million people who drown every year, half of them are children. Sadly, about one third of those children will drown in or around their own home. It’s important that everyone knows how to help prevent tragedies like this by being CPR and first aid certified. Make sure to enclose off pools or bodies of water, and that when you are on/near the water, kids are properly supervised and wearing a life vest. Hopefully, if everyone works together we can lower the number of drowning deaths that occur every year.
Jack didn’t just take the job as a lifeguard and neglect his duties like many irresponsible teens would, instead this brave young man took this to heart. As a direct result of Jack’s decisions, a four year old boy is alive who might not otherwise be alive today.
In 2016, lifeguards at the two Lakewood public pools saved 42 lives, which is something anyone should be proud of. As for Jack, he’s just glad he was able to help this kid when he needed him most.
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