The Lifeguard Knowledge Quiz



By: Talin Vartanian

6 Min Quiz

Image: gchutka/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Lifeguards use all kinds of skills and techniques to save victims from drowning, potential injuries of the neck and spinal areas and more! In this quiz, we've compiled a list of 35 questions that will test your knowledge on lifeguard-related topics like jumps, types of rescues and medical devices.

Let's take a look at some jumps. There are four types of jumps, or entries, that are used by lifeguards. Depending on the situation, a compact jump, stride jump, run-and-swim entry or a slide-in entry may be used. A compact jump is used to jump from high places, like a lifeguard chair, where a lifeguard loosely "tucks in" their knees to their rescue tube. A stride jump is typically used near the edge of the pool, where a lifeguard extends one leg into the water. For potential spinal injuries, a slide-in entry is used for both deep water and shallow water areas. This is so that the water remains undisturbed around the person being rescued. And finally, a run-and-swim entry is used for waters that have little to no depth, where a lifeguard literally runs in the water to save a victim.

You'll be quizzed on whistle blasts, CPR techniques and first aid treatment in this quiz as well. Let's see how well you do; try and score at least a 75% now!

If a lifeguard wants to tell someone to stop running (in a swimming pool area), how many short whistle blasts will they typically use?

The answer is one short whistle blast. A lifeguard will use this to get someone's attention for minor situations like running by the pool or diving into a shallow area of the water.


Which of the following vehicles are not typically used by lifeguards in a beach setting?

Lifeguards don't typically use a bicycle in a beach setting, as it would be difficult to actually ride a bike through sand. Instead, they use vehicles like inflatable boats (in the ocean), quad bikes and pick-up trucks.


What is the 10:20 system?

The 10:20 rule is an important technique that is used by lifeguards in both swimming pool and beach settings. It's when a lifeguard scans the entirety of the swimming area for 10 seconds and is within a 20-second reach of all swimmers.


One long whistle blow (in a swimming pool area) is used to indicate that...?

Everybody should clear the pool when a lifeguard blows the whistle with one long breath. This doesn't necessarily mean an emergency, either; it could simply be a drill.


If a lifeguard runs through shallow water to save someone, this is called a...?

A run-and-swim entry involves a lifeguard running through shallow waters to save someone. This is entry is used when the water is typically no more than 3 feet deep.


When should a slide-in entry be used?

If the victim has a possible injury of the neck or spine, a lifeguard will typically use a slide-in entry. This is when a lifeguard slowly slides into the pool without causing any disturbances in the water, as that could affect the potential injury even more.


If a lifeguard saves a conscious victim who is showing "active" signs of help, this is called...?

An active-victim rescue involves a lifeguard saving a conscious person, or someone who shows active signs of needing help in the water. This is opposite from a passive-victim rescue, when the victim may be unconscious.


What is an AED?

An AED is a device used to reset a victim's heart rhythm by using two pads on specific areas of the torso. AED stands for "automated external defibrillator."


Which of the following is NOT a duty of a lifeguard?

Lifeguards should not talk to other lifeguards, as this can create a distraction from a potential victim. A lifeguard's primary duties are to clean the pool area, provide first aid for minor injuries, scanning the swimming area and performing rescue operations.


If a lifeguard needs to make other lifeguards aware of a situation, how many short whistle blows will they use?

The answer is two short whistle blows. This is used to alert other lifeguards to a potential emergency situation. If a lifeguard needs to leave his or her station to respond to an emergency or perform a rescue, the two short whistle blasts will let other lifeguards know that backup help might be needed.


If a lifeguard saves a victim who is unconscious or showing "passive" signs of drowning, what is this called?

A passive-victim rescue involves saving a victim who may be unconscious or showing unusual signs of drowning. This is different from an active-victim rescue, in which the victim is conscious.


What is a stride jump?

A stride jump is done from the edge of a pool, when the lifeguard extends one leg forward during the jump, like taking a stride when walking. This entry is typically used when the water is at least 5 feet deep.


This type of jump involves lightly tucking in the knees and jumping from a high point, like a lifeguard chair. Can you name it?

A compact jump involves lightly tucking in the knees and jumping from a high point, like a lifeguard chair. The water should be at least 5 feet deep for this type of jump.


If a swimmer is near the edge of a pool and shows signs of distress, which method should a lifeguard use to perform a rescue operation?

If a victim is near the edge of a pool and shows signs of distress, a lifeguard can simply pull the person out of the water by reaching out to assist them, perhaps with the help of a rescue tube or a rescue pole.


When is a simple assist used?

A simple assist is used in shallow waters. This could include helping a victim regain their balance in shallow waters or rescuing a submerged victim who is near the edge of the pool.


If a victim is facing away from you as they are drowning, which type of rescue operation should be performed?

If a victim is facing away from you as they are drowning, an active victim rear rescue should be performed. In this approach, the lifeguard will grasp the victim under the arms from behind, supporting the victim's shoulders while kicking and pulling them back towards the shore or the side of the pool.


This technique is used to "drag" a victim from the water and to a safe place. What is it called?

This technique is called a beach drag. It's typically used in a beach setting to gently pull a victim out of the water and to a safe location. This method shouldn't be used if the victim might have a back, head or neck injury, as being pulled along the ground could cause worse damage.


If a lifeguard is about to perform a rescue, how many short whistle blows will they use?

The answer is three short whistle blows. This is used to indicate that a lifeguard is about to perform a rescue operation.


This type of assist is used to help a person walk from the water and to a safe location. What is it called?

A walking assist is used to help a victim walk from the water and to a safe location. This is done by placing the arm of the victim around the lifeguard's shoulders for support.


How many lifeguards are needed to complete a front-and-back carry operation for a victim?

Two lifeguards are needed to complete a front-and-back carry. The first lifeguard holds the legs of the victim, while the second lifeguard offers support to the torso area. This method is used to carry a person who's unconscious or unable to move out of shallow water.


Which of the following is NOT a technique to open a victim's airway?

A variety of techniques are used to open a victim's airway, but a spinal maneuver is not one of them. The other three techniques in the answer list are used to open the airway to allow for oxygen flow into the victim.


When should a spinal rescue be used?

A spinal board is used for spinal rescues, which may indicate a potential head, neck or spinal injury. This type of rescue also works in both shallow waters and deep waters.


Which of these is NOT an oxygen delivery device?

An AED is not a type of oxygen delivery device. Instead, it's used to reset the heart rhythm of a victim with a life-threatening irregular heartbeat. The rest of answers in the list are in fact oxygen delivery devices.


What does 30:2 mean with regards to CPR?

30:2 is a rule-of-thumb technique that is used to perform efficient CPR on a victim whose heart has stopped beating. It consists of a pattern of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths.


When performing CPR, how many chest compressions should be administered to a victim over a 1-minute span?

The range of chest compressions that should be administered over a 1-minute span is 100-120. This is accomplished via the 30:2 rule, which consists of 30 chest compressions, followed by 2 rescue breaths (this cycle is repeated).


How many long whistle blows are used to clear the pool due to an emergency?

Two long whistle blows are used to clear the pool due to an emergency. This may also be used to signal swimmers that the pool is now closed.


A lifeguard should spend ______ seconds or less when checking a victim's pulse.

A lifeguard should spend no more than 10 seconds when checking the victim's pulse. A lifeguard must work quickly in emergency situations, and too much time spent on checking for a pulse may delay required treatment to a victim.


What does H.A.IN.E.S stand for?

H.A.IN.E.S stands for "High arm in endangered spine." It's a type of position in which a victim is turned to his or her side so that the spine is not potentially damaged. It also keeps the airway open.


Which of the following is NOT a sign of respiratory distress?

Jaundice refers to a yellow color in the white part of a person's eyeball and the skin. Jaundice can be caused by a number of different underlying medical conditions, but it is not a sign of respiratory distress. A lifeguard should look for sweating, abnormal breathing, dizziness and a blue color around the lips to detect if someone is in respiratory distress.


If a victim is consciously choking, how many back blows should a lifeguard perform?

Five back blows should be performed by a lifeguard to a victim that is actively choking. This may be followed by five abdominal thrusts.


If a victim has severe hypoxia, which oxygen delivery device should a lifeguard use?

A bag-valve mask, or BVM, should be used for a victim who has severe hypoxia, which is when the body is severely lacking oxygen. Also called a manual resuscitator or self-inflating bag, works by forcing air into the lungs and providing ventilation. A non-rebreather mask may also be used.


The acronym SAMPLE is used by lifeguards to conduct a quick health assessment for a victim. What does the "P" stand for?

The 'P' in SAMPLE stands for "past medical history. S = symptoms, A = allergies, M = medications, P = past medical history, L = last oral intake and E = events (which led to the current situation).


If a victim's nose is bleeding, what should a lifeguard do?

The nostrils should be pinched together by the victim to stop a nose bleed. Lifeguards can also utilize an ice pack on the nose as well.


How should a lifeguard handle a snakebite?

An elastic roller bandage should be applied to the affected area. This type of bandage reduces blood flow and can help prevent swelling. Of course, if it's possible the snake was venomous, expert medical care should also be sought immediately. The rest of the answers in the list should never be used for a snakebite.


What is the red tube called that a lifeguard uses for various rescue operations?

A rescue tube is used for various rescue operations. It is bright red in color and held in a horizontal position, across the lifeguard's waist.


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