A lifelong lesson from a former lifeguard

By: Lois Kugler, American Red Cross

On a recent sunny day, we caught up with American Red Cross Philanthropy Officer Frann Garrett. Frann joined the American Red Cross fifteen months ago and is currently serving as the Senior Philanthropy Officer, Corporate Partnerships.

Frann’s connection to the Red Cross actually began during her childhood. Her family spent the warm weather months in and around the water and Frann loved it. She spent

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Blast from the Past: Frann Garrett during her time as a lifeguard in the northern Adirondack Park.

summers at sleep-away camp in the northern Adirondack Park and decided early on that she wanted to be a camp lifeguard and swim instructor. Frann says completing the Red Cross Lifeguard training and first aid course in the dead of winter allowed her to achieve that goal.

As a lifeguard, it was Frann’s job to keep swimmers safe and most days were uneventful,

but one day left a lasting impression on Frann. “Each year, after the regular summer session came to a close, the camp hosted kids from the city of Rochester, New York,” Frann recounted. “On the first day with the new campers, I ran through my usual water safety presentation. When I questioned whether anyone couldn’t swim or didn’t feel confident in the water, not one hand went up.  That day, I used my Red Cross lifeguard training to pull at least twelve kids from the water.” That day at camp reinforced what Frann already knew: knowing how to swim and how to be safe around water could be the difference between life or death.

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Water Front Rules, from Frann’s time as a lifeguard at summer camp.

While no longer a lifeguard, Frann has some important reminders about water safety, “When people are around the water with friends and family it is easy to become distracted,” said Frann. “Parents and babysitters always need to keep their eyes on their children and never leave them unattended around the water.  Also, never try to go beyond your skill level when in the water, things can happen so quickly, don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Also, if you don’t know how to swim, you should learn, check out local learn to swim programs in your area.”

The summer months are great time to get outside, but always remember that safety comes first. For more water safety tips visit http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.

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