California labor laws are notoriously tricky to navigate. We have a great Human Resources Department but new legislation like AB5 can really challenge us to remain a nimble, productive organization. We must be creative with staffing solutions while still following the law. How do find employees willing to work at all hours for little to no pay? How do you train staff to make rescues in the water and improve CPR and First Aid training without adding more paid employees? You hire “Caleb”*.
What can Caleb do that ordinary lifeguards can’t? He can hold his breath for unlimited periods of time. When we train for submerged rescues the “victim” has hold their breath before being pulled from the bottom of the pool. Waiting on the bottom of the pool while we work on technique is not an option for a human victim. Humans will kick to the surface and lift their head when they need to breathe. This is not an issue for Caleb. He is a true passive victim. He can hold his breath all day. He never turns blue.
Caleb never gets cold when strapped to a backboard at Donner Lake on a chilly morning. When we practice removing victims from the pool or lake it can be cold to be strapped to a backboard often half in the water and half out of the water. We train in all conditions and Caleb can handle any weather we
throw at him without shivering in his speedo. Most lifeguards would rather work on rescues than be the patient. Caleb keeps everyone training and no one has to play the victim.
What else is cool about Caleb? We can practice real CPR compressions on his chest and blow air into his plastic lungs and watch his chest rise. The more realistic our training can be the better our staff will perform. Caleb allows our staff to practice chest compressions more realistically than with just a manikin torso and without injuring a human. Caleb is 5’5’’ tall and weighs 140 pounds dry. Removing him from the water and immediately being able to start CPR really improves our classes and training. He can really put on some water weight so removing him can be challenging, just like a real human would be.
Caleb also can’t get COVID or a sunburn. We love him so much I am taking him to a Giants game this summer to thank him. We are taking the carpool lane.
If you spend some time at the beach or the pool this summer keep an eye out for Caleb and give him a high five or a fist bump. He’s helping keep us all safe.
*We haven’t officially settled on Caleb. Some of us prefer Manikin Skywalker.