About Backyard Lifeguards
Backyard Lifeguards is an aquatic safety and private professional lifeguarding company serving residential pools, schools, camps, and aquatic sporting events. An authorized provider of American Red Cross safety training and services, Backyard Lifeguards delivers customized water safety education and is the only provider of insured, equipped*, portable professional lifeguard services in and around the St. Louis area.
According to recent estimates, there are more than 77,000 private pools in St. Louis County. But until Backyard Lifeguards, private pool owners struggled to get vital, site-specific safety information, training, and services for safe and healthy swimming.
Statistics show that drowning occurs most frequently—a whopping 80% of the time—on private property. Drowning is preventable. Backyard Lifeguards offers aquatic safety services to the individual consumer to educate and motivate them toward safety-conscious choices, and take steps to eliminate drowning accidents.
* Type of equipment provided depends on the number of lifeguards and method of travel.
Why Hire a Lifeguard?
According to the US Lifesaving Association, of the 12,000 fatal and nonfatal drownings per year, those that occur under lifeguard supervision account for less than 1%. Finding lifeguard services has been a challenge for home pool owners and race organizers. Trusted agencies such as the American Red Cross, YMCA, parks and recreation departments, and pool management companies can offer little help. For legitimate reasons, these groups will not send their staff to a site they have never seen, on property they don’t own, among people they don’t know and whose behaviors they may not be able to control. Some won’t even allow customers to advertise the need for a lifeguard to their staff.
As part of their training, lifeguards are educated about their own liability when they work outside their established place of employment. Many choose not to incur that risk to themselves or their families. This has left homeowners and event coordinators with few choices for hiring a lifeguard. In many cases, pool party hosts hire lifeguards they know indirectly, and because of the limited options, do not ask for certificates, check skills in advance, require that lifesaving equipment be provided, or factor in important variables such as age and experience.
Backyard Lifeguards from the Beginning
In May of 2009, a highly publicized St. Louis county backyard pool drowning and subsequent lawsuit drew attention to the safety needs of residential pools. There is a clear distinction between a community pool and a private pool. Backyard pools don’t usually have modern rescue equipment, depth markings, or appropriate diving envelopes. They don’t have emergency action plans, posted policies, or any of the things required of community pools to ensure public health and safety. And above all, they don’t have a certified and attentive lifeguard.
With input from many colleagues, owner Stephané Rebeck began work on a plan to provide water safety services to residential pools. The result is Backyard Lifeguards, an equipped and insured portable professional lifeguard service that also offers site-specific water safety training. The goal is to reduce the dramatic rate of drowning at historically under-supervised locations and events. One of only a few in the country whose primary business is supplying private lifeguard services, the company has earned mentions from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sauce magazine, Today in St. Louis, and Great Day St. Louis.