Since starting Lifesaving Resources more than two decades ago, Gerald Dworkin has become one of the leading authorities and promoters for the skills and training required to save lives.
A graduate of the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, Dworkin found his calling early, as a 13-year-old junior lifesaver. One of his first jobs was at the American Red Cross and he spent 14 years at the Washington D.C., agency working in aquatic safety, first aid and CPR.
He and his wife, Donna, started Lifesaving Resources in 1984 to develop an expanded training curriculum focused on aquatic safety and emergency procedures. Dworkin’s goal was to ensure that every public safety officer knows how to best prevent a water- or ice-related disaster and perform proper procedures if such an emergency occurs.
“The company is dedicated to drowning and aquatic injury prevention and emergency management,” he explains. “Our hope to prevent or reduce drownings and aquatic injuries.”
Dworkin has written more than 40 articles and several books. In addition, he runs several training courses for various agencies each quarter, speaks regularly at conferences, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC News, CBS’ “Early Show,” NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the Fire Emergency Training Network, the Discovery Channel, and the “ G. Gordon Liddy Show.”
To date, he’s trained students and instructors from 32 states, Canada, Norway and Greece. He’s also consulted on more than 220 drowning and aquatic injury cases, many of which become teaching tools, with case studies posted on the Lifesaving Resources Web site (lifesaving.com).
“The intent is that people will learn from these incidents so we can prevent them from occurring again,” he says of his expert witness work.
Today Lifesaving Resources serves two distinct markets — the lifeguarding and aquatic recreation sector, and the public safety and rescue sector — and one of Dworkin’s most significant challenges is educating each side on how to complement the work of the other. For example, instructing aquatics directors on how to best assist EMTs in the event of an emergency, and teaching emergency personnel what to do when called to a pool, waterpark or beach setting.
“When we first started, very few fire and rescue agencies had water or ice rescue training. I think we’ve helped to make headway in changing that,” Dworkin says.
Perhaps one thing that’s helped him bridge the gaps and understand the training needs of rescue and recreation agencies is the fact that Dworkin himself has been certified and actively engaged as a firefighter and EMT for more than 30 years.
To expand training opportunities and continue promoting a collaborative approach between recreation and rescue agencies, he plans to begin offering Webinars this year. He’s also an acting board member for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.