JUST minutes into her first lifeguarding shift 16-year-old Sydney Horsted played a part in saving a man’s life.
Monday was Sydney’s first day patrolling Southsea seafront for the RNLI.
And less than 15 minutes later, her training was tested when a man who had suffered a suspected heart attack near Southsea beach needed help.
Sydney, who is studying computing, history and digital film making at Portsmouth College, said: ‘It was unexpected and I was quite shocked when it all happened.
‘But I remembered my training and was able to keep calm and help out.
‘As it was my first day I was both nervous and excited, but now I’m feeling much more confident.’
Help was needed after a 60-year-old man collapsed in the Rock Gardens, near The Pyramids Centre, in Southsea.
A member of the public dialled 999 and lifeguards were called by the ambulance service to go to the man’s aid while an ambulance was dispatched.
Lifeguards Naomi Groome and Elliott Daley helped the man while Sydney co-ordinated communication between the ambulance service and lifeguards, while making sure the water remained under constant supervision.
The man was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital.
His condition is unknown.
Sydney, who has been swimming competitively since the age of 11, had only completed her training two weeks ago.
She added: ‘It was amazing how quickly all the training I’ve gone through over the past few weeks kicked in and it was certainly reassuring to be working alongside experienced lifeguards like Elliott and Naomi.
‘People often think lifeguards only rescue people from the water but we do lots of first aid work on the beach.
‘The biggest part of our job is preventing incidents before they happen.’
Her mum Charlotte, 44, of Northern Parade, said she’s extremely proud of her daughter.
The advertising team leader said: ‘I’m very proud of her and I’ve had every confidence in her.
‘She never made a big deal about it but I’m proud she helped.’
Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: ‘All RNLI lifeguards are highly trained in casualty care, which is a form of advanced first aid.
‘Because of this we’re designated as first responders which means when there is an medical emergency, the ambulance service will call us to respond and we’re usually first on scene.’
RNLI lifeguards patrol Southsea beach from 10am and 6pm, seven days a week until September 6.
Last summer lifeguards dealt with 81 incidents, rescued seven people and gave first aid 61 times.
Training is available for anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard.
To become a lifeguard call Rogan on 07887 625266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org