Richmond lifeguards practise saving lives donned in PPE

A half dozen lifeguards were practicing rescue techniques at Steveston Outdoor Pool on Friday in preparation for Monday’s re-opening of the pool with new COVID-19 protocols in place even while saving someone’s life.

Face shields, masks, gloves and gowns were donned by the lifeguards as they did CPR on mannequins and they went through the manoeuvres, checking their timing and routine, wearing the extra gear.

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Ethan Poehlke, a full-time lifeguard in Richmond, said he’s excited to have swimmers back at Steveston Outdoor Pool next week, and he believes it’s good for people’s mental health to be back in the water and active.

“I feel people have been missing (the pool) – it’s part of the culture here,” he said.

But the pool, whose maximum capacity is normally 200, will have only a few dozen people at a time when it re-opens on Monday (July 13).

The lane pool has been split into three lanes and four people will be allowed to swim in each one at any given time. The smaller pool will be roped off into three sections where family or friend bubbles can swim in groups of no larger than four.

At times, some lanes will be opened up for recreational swimming.

To open the pool, staff had to follow guidelines from Vancouver Coastal Health, B.C. Recreation and Parks Association, WorkSafeBC and the Lifesaving Society.

In addition to being ushered in at one of the pool, asked to wash their hands and then ushered out the other end after their 50-minute swim, patrons will see lifeguards scrubbing down door knobs, phones and any high-touch surfaces on the pool deck, explained Poehlke.

They will also be making sure patrons are keeping six feet apart in the facility, he added.

Except for times when Richmond’s two swim clubs - the Kigoos and the Rapids - practise, the pool will be open from morning to evening for the public. However, there are no drop-in swims and people have to register in advance for 50-minute slots.

To register for swim times, go to and search for pools under “recreation and community centres.”

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