It’s not saving lives but we can make a positive difference

Be Learning has been working on a client project with a guest speaker from Bondi Rescue, Corey Oliver. Corey is a typical laidback Aussie with 15 years’ experience as a lifeguard on Bondi Beach. In the height of summer there can be 20-30,000 people per day visiting the iconic Sydney beach and only 6-7 lifeguards on duty. That’s a huge responsibility but they make an enormous difference with an average of 2000 rescues per season. Corey is a key speaker at the client’s conference, speaking about his job – saving lives and educating people about water safety. In our sessions I have had the privilege to hear many remarkable stories about the lives he has saved. It is something he does every day and sometimes he forgets the huge impact he makes. Occasionally, he is reminded of just how important his job is and what he has given to people…

On this YouTube clip from Bondi Rescue a victim, a Japanese tourist, is found floating in the water. The team rescues him and performs CPR and then uses the defibrillator. The man is clinically dead for up to 4 minutes but miraculously, when you think it is impossible for him to be revived; they manage to bring him back. I had my mouth open in awe as I watched someone who was dead being brought back to life.

Also key in the role of a lifeguard is education about water safety. As well as educating people at the beach, lifeguards also have surf safety programs in schools and with newly arrived migrants. Many Australians live near the sea and we learn to swim from a young age, it’s very much a part of our culture. Often non swimmers underestimate the danger of the sea which can look glassy and calm on top but then disguise a dangerous rip underneath. Bondi Rescue – the show, has also made a huge difference in educating people about water safety. Corey said they receive hundreds of letter from all over the globe from people who have watched the show and now know what to do in a water safety incident. He recalls…

I remember we got a letter from a Mum who told us she was at home one day when she noticed her young son wasn’t around. Immediately she became concerned because they had a backyard pool. It was the first place she looked and she found him floating in the pool face down. She hadn’t had any training in resuscitation but had seen a few episodes on Bondi Rescue where we performed CPR and she said that came straight to her mind and she performed CPR on her son. She revived him all alone there by the side of the pool. If it hadn’t been for that, he would definitely have died. She wrote to us to thank us and tell us her story. That’s when it hits you. I realise what a big responsibility we have and what a difference we can make.”

At Be Learning, I don’t save lives every day however lately I’ve come to feel that what we are doing here really does make a positive difference. It’s why I work so hard. And it doesn’t always go smoothly. But it’s worth it in the end and it’s what keeps me motivated.

Communication is so vital for relationships, well-being, productivity and mutual respect. I certainly have not mastered it. If I waited until I mastered it before I taught it then I wouldn’t have a job. Rather it’s a life long journey and although I have come a long way, I recognise I still have a long way to go.

This blog post is written by Claire Jones – Senior Consultant, Be Learning