Lifeguards taking precautions as Delaware beach season opens

As the Delaware beaches open this weekend, lifeguards are taking their stands once again, albeit with some extra precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will have all our highly trained lifeguards as per usual,” said Delaware State Parks community relations coordinator Shauna McVey. “They’re being outfitted with personal protective equipment. You might see some lifeguards with masks, special masks made just for lifeguards, as well as additional equipment in medical kits.”

The pandemic did not affect training for the lifeguards, Ms. McVey said.

“They were planning the entire time for this weekend even if they didn’t know they (beaches) would be open,” she said.

According to the United States Lifesaving Association, there are numerous suggest guidelines lifeguards should follow:

• Follow the directives of your employing agency, which should be informed by and consistent with the directives of state and local public health authorities.

• Use social distancing at work, avoiding large meetings, close training, and close proximity to others (example: one guard per stand/tower).

• Wear a simple, fabric mask covering your nose and mouth whenever you will be within six feet of others.

• Practice good personal hygiene, including regular hand washing. If access to running water is limited, use hand sanitizer.

• Use universal precautions when providing medical aid. Avoid mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-mask resuscitation. Use a bag-valve-mask or positive pressure ventilator, in either case with a HEPA or N95 filter.

• Regularly clean surfaces with which you, your fellow lifeguards, and the public come in contact.

• Avoid touching other people, including your fellow lifeguards, unless necessary.

• Consider regular temperature checks by lifeguards.

• If you feel ill, advise supervisor.

For Delaware State Park beaches, lifeguards are on patrol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach’s lifeguard hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.