Each summer, the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s (LACoFD) Lifeguard Division hosts its popular Junior Lifeguard program, providing beach and ocean skills instruction at County beaches from Malibu to Avalon. County ocean lifeguards train the participants, ages 9-17, in water safety, swimming, body surfing, surfing, physical conditioning, rescue techniques, CPR and in the use of professional lifesaving equipment.
This summer’s sessions, held from June 20 to August 16, are in full swing with 86 lifeguards trained to instruct and lead a record number of participants; 4,200 from throughout Los Angeles county. The growth in the program is attributed to improved bus routes and financial aid that has improved access to the opportunity.
Program Director and LACoFD Lifeguard Captain Patrick O’Neill shared that participants have especially enjoyed field trips to locations like Catalina Island, noting that these experiences really “open up their eyes” — providing lessons not just in water safety, but in caring for the environment and building confidence.