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Lifeguards tested skills against other teams from B.C. at the 11th annual lifeguard competition held last Saturday, August 14.  CUPE 403, Township of Langley municipal workers, were sponsors of the event that is open to lifeguards 16 years old and up from British Columbia.

We’re really proud to participate in this event,” said CUPE 403 president Paul Albrecht. “It’s important that young and casual workers know that CUPE supports them and understands their workplace issues.” CUPE 403 has also been running open houses for young, casual, and new members at their office.

This year’s lifeguard competition was the Fraser Valley Regional Championship and the winners will go on to the provincial competition. The event included 13 teams from across the province, with a total of 60 competitors, 40 officials, and 30 volunteers participating.

Event organizer Ryan Radford praised CUPE’s involvement and commitment to the event. “We really appreciate CUPE’s contribution,” said Radford. “About 90 per cent of the volunteers and participants are members of CUPE. CUPE 403 has been amazing and has sponsored us from the start.”

CUPE 403 donated $1,000 towards the event, which bought event T-shirts and prizes. The Local also provided the food for the barbecue that followed the competition. Members from CUPE 403 cooked the burgers and hot dogs so event organizers could tally results and have a well-deserved break before the awards were given out.

Members of CUPE 386 from Coquitlam’s City Centre Aquatic Complex – aka “The Flipflops” – won the CUPE Cup for the second year in a row. The home team, CUPE 403 members from Walnut Grove Community Centre, won both the best rookie team and the fitness competition. 

Every lifeguard competition includes first aid scenarios, pool simulations, and fitness tests.  The competition is designed to be as real as possible. Actors who feign various problems including bleeding from the face, lumbar injury, lost child, etc. are mixed in with the public who are using the pool recreationally. Lifeguard teams are expected to scan and find all the injuries, and help the victims. The day also included first aid scenarios set up outside using giant inflatable props and testing coping with everything from a no pulse, non-breathing victim to heat exhaustion and shock.

Albrecht says that CUPE sponsorship has a positive impact. “It’s a way to connect. Our sponsorship is a way to give young people a positive union experience. As well as providing financial support for this local competition, CUPE continues to stand up to improve working conditions for young and casual workers.”