Comprehensive training regimen builds skills for the future, exceeds industry standards
Jobs at Canada’s Wonderland are often advertised as being a great way to start a career, or key to building essential skills for the future. For former lifeguard Erin Clancy, the training she received in her seven years at Canada’s Wonderland literally helped her save another person’s life.
Now at university, Erin was playing inner-tube water polo with friends this month when a team member became unconscious and unresponsive.
“I didn’t think, I didn’t panic,” she said. “My training kicked in and I went into autopilot. I was able to work with two lifeguards on duty at the pool to get him out of the water and perform CPR until paramedics arrived.”
The man recovered at hospital and is reportedly doing well. Erin credits the thorough training and best practices she acquired at Canada’s Wonderland for her ability to respond quickly and effectively.
“We train for vigilance, so that means we’re not just talking about being vigilant, we practice being vigilant,” she said of her time at the Park, from 2011 to 2017. “Lifeguards there are always watching, moving, rotating, having lots of guest interaction. You don’t always get that with other lifeguard jobs.”
All new lifeguards at Canada’s Wonderland complete 33.5 paid hours of additional training between lifeguard classes and department training before they start working. They also attend four hours per month of mandatory in-service training.
Rob Karim, Manager of Rides and Aquatics, said the training is very comprehensive, but necessary. “It covers everything from CPR to first aid, in-water skills and drills, and team training,” he said.
Hearing about Erin’s experience validates the training all staff get in their jobs at the Park, said Rob.
The lifeguard training program at Canada’s Wonderland is designed by Ellis & Associates, an industry leader in aquatic safety and risk management. The park undergoes multiple audits each year by the agency and has exceeded the standards consistently for 10 years running.
Erin knows her job at Canada’s Wonderland was a time she’ll never forget.
“It was awesome. I made a lot of friends and it was a great leadership experience,” she said.
Though she started as a lifeguard, she quickly moved up the ranks and became Operations Supervisor of Aquatics. She was also a torch bearer for the Pan Am Games in 2015, running a portion of the relay through the Park.
“That job built up my confidence, getting to work with guests, management and other team members. I was fortunate to be able to train lots of staff,” she said. “It gave me a lot of skills that I could bring to school and my future work.”
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