Nova Scotia

Gowns, masks, goggles and gloves part of N.S. lifeguard's kit this summer

The COVID-19 pandemic means lifeguards will no longer be allowed to perform CPR by using the traditional mouth-to-mouth method. Bag valve mask will be used instad and will be at each lifeguard station.

Bag valve masks for CPR instead of mouth-to-mouth part of COVID-19 protocols this summer

The COVID-19 pandemic means lifeguards will no longer be allowed to perform CPR by using the traditional mouth-to-mouth method. Bag valve masks will be used instead and will be at each lifeguard station. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Gowns, masks, goggles and gloves will all be a part of a Nova Scotia lifeguard's gear this summer.

Nova Scotia lifeguards have always had personal protective equipment like gloves and masks at their disposal, but this year they are being offered more because of COVID-19.

"It's a high-risk activity and we're trying to protect our staff as much as possible," said Paul D'Eon, director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service.

The service begins on July 1 and ends August 31. On Wednesday, a group of lifeguards who were in training helped rescue a man who went underwater at Halifax's Chocolate Lake.

For example, mouth-to-mouth CPR is no longer allowed, but each lifeguard station will have a bag valve mask.

D'Eon said lifeguards will still be doing compression and ventilation, but will use the bag valve to force air into the a person's mouth.

Paul D'Eon (right) shows how lifeguards are being trained to resuscitate someone under COVID-19 protocols. He is doing chest compressions while the other person is using the bag valve mask to force air into the dummy's mouth. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"It's to avoid aerosols in the air when we're doing resuscitation," D'Eon said, adding this measure has been recommended to lifeguards worldwide.

The service is in the process of obtaining personal protective equipment and is also changing some policies and procedures, but D'Eon said everything will be ready on time.

Other parts of the job won't change. D'Eon said they still haven't figured out a way to rescue someone from the water without making physical contact. He said lifeguards are exempt from the Health Protection Act 

The Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service staffs 23 lakes and beaches province-wide during the summer. D'Eon said Halifax lifeguards are employed by the municipality and separate from the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, but they'll be trained similarly.

With files from Paul Palmeter

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