Whenever you go to a big pool or a public beach, you’ll always see lifeguards around: a person whose job it is to stand by the water and make sure everybody is safe. It’s a cool job, but did you ever wonder how it got started? Joy and co-host Brooklyn want to learn how to be lifeguards, and they learn from a couple of robots programmed to be like Hawaiian surfing legends Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth, who are part of the early history of lifeguarding in the United States. And on First Things First, you’ll guess which came first: seatbelts, fire extinguishers, or CPR.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] JOY DOLO: Hey, Brooklyn. I'm over here by the surf shack. Gnarly swimsuit might do that.

BROOKLYN: Thanks. We are far away from home. Why did you want to meet in Hawaii?

JOY DOLO: Well, after I told you about my two beautiful story of swimming in Hawaii.

BROOKLYN: That was totally in the last episode.

JOY DOLO: Totally. I was like, whoa, we should totally learn to be lifeguards, specifically in the Pacific, specifically, specifically on the beach at Waikiki. You and I both love to swim, and we've been lucky to have so many sick lifeguards keeping an eye out for us over the years. Sick means awesome in surfer speak, by the way. So why not learn to guard some lives ourselves? Am I right?

BROOKLYN: I'd love to become a lifeguard. Paying it forward. Let's get up on that super tall chair and start guarding. Cowabunga!

JOY DOLO: Whoa! Babbling Brooklyn, we can't just jump in. We need more righteous instruction. So I signed us up for lifeguard training.

BROOKLYN: Oops. I got ahead of myself there.

JOY DOLO: No worries, Brooklyn Bridge is falling down. Now let's see if we have everything we need. Sunscreen? Red,

BROOKLYN: Vizor? Red.

JOY DOLO: Fanny pack. Red.

BROOKLYN: Are those dummies behind you?

JOY DOLO: Whoa, Brooklyn, language.

BROOKLYN: Sorry. Those two plastic, fake people with no arms or legs?

JOY DOLO: Oh, right, those. Yeah. They are all part of the plan. I have rope, jaggedy-jack, but I can't find the most important item.

BROOKLYN: Hmm. Chewing gum?

JOY DOLO: A whistle. A lifeguard is nothing without it, dude.

BROOKLYN: Slow your roll. I don't think you can just have a whistle. I'm sure you've got to earn it.

JOY DOLO: Whistle!

BROOKLYN: Whoa. Why did you do that?

JOY DOLO: It's my makeshift whistle noise until I earn one.

BROOKLYN: Well, what are you waiting for? Let's hang 10. Come on.

JOY DOLO: Brooklyn, no running next to the water. It's not safe. Whistle! Whistle! Whistle!


JOY DOLO: Hello and welcome to Forever Ago from APM Studios. I'm Joy Dolo.

BROOKLYN: And I'm Brooklyn. OK. Joy, I think my ears have finally recovered from your whistle.

JOY DOLO: It's got to be loud. That's the point. I need those kids who are roughhousing in the pool to be able to hear me. And then when they turn around, I'm going to give them that look that says you'll cut that out or I'm telling your mama.


I can't wait.

BROOKLYN: For real?


JOY DOLO: No. I'm just kidding. But I am stoked about the chance to learn some new skills to rock this new, red swimsuit and to spend the summer keeping people safe while they have fun in the water. I got a few questions for you, Brooklyn, that are water-related. What do you think of when you hear the word lifeguard?

BROOKLYN: I think of those donut-shaped life preservers.

JOY DOLO: Oh, yeah, yeah, those big round ones. Cool. Cool. Yeah, I like those too. Have you ever helped someone that needed some help by the beach or by the pool?

BROOKLYN: No, I have not.

JOY DOLO: That's perfect because today, we're going to learn so much about how to help people. And now, we're going to have so many skills.

BROOKLYN: Yeah. That's going to be fun.

JOY DOLO: It's going to be cool. Yeah. Speaking of cool. What's the coolest thing about lifeguard do you think?

BROOKLYN: The fact that they save lives is pretty awesome to me.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. Yeah. They're life savers. Did you know that candy life savers?

BROOKLYN: Yeah, lifesavers and like, lifeguards ich.


JOY DOLO: Yeah. They used to be lifesavers. Now, they're lifeguards. So lifeguards are totally the coolest. They get to sit up in that tall chair constantly scanning the horizon for danger or lightning. And everybody has to listen to them, even the grown-ups. And if somebody does need rescuing, they get to dive in and help. Who wouldn't want to be a lifeguard? They're amazing.

GEORGE FREETH: Yes. Lifeguards are amazing. How do you do, fellow humans?

JOY DOLO: Brooklyn, do you also see this giant robot that just walked up to us on the beach?

BROOKLYN: I do, but I have no idea what's going on.

GEORGE FREETH: Beautiful day do you do human things, like swimming, and digesting food, and having emotions, and being allies, right?

JOY DOLO: I don't think you're alive.

GEORGE FREETH: What do you mean? I can move. I can dance. I can think deep thoughts.


"Nan, nan, nan, nan!" Ah!

JOY DOLO: Is your head supposed to be smoking and shooting out sparks?

GEORGE FREETH: Yes. Doesn't yours? Fine. Yes. I am a robot. What gave it away?

JOY DOLO: Maybe the fact that you're totally made of metal.

BROOKLYN: Or that giant glowing screen where your face should be.

JOY DOLO: Or the clinking sound you just made coming out of the surf shack.

BROOKLYN: Or the--

GEORGE FREETH: OK. OK. That is enough. I get it.


Someday, I'll be able to fool a human person, but today is not that day. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Freespot 3,000, an Android with all the abilities, memories and can do spirit of the original lifeguard George Freeth. And I am your lifeguard instructor.

BROOKLYN: What do you mean the original lifeguard?

JOY DOLO: Yeah. Who's George Freeth?

GEORGE FREETH: George Freeth is the man who helped make the job of lifeguard what it is today. He's the brain behind famous lifeguardy things, like the red swimsuits, the flotation devices, the rigorous training, the computer chip in your brain that lets you turn your feet into propellers.

BROOKLYN: Wait, what?

GEORGE FREETH: Oh, wait, that last one is just me, but the rest were all George's ideas. And I have all of his wisdom programmed into my robot brain. So I am basically him with propeller feet.

JOY DOLO: What about the whistles?

GEORGE FREETH: George did not invent those, but they are a great addition to the lifeguard toolkit. Yes, there have been many innovations since George, the human one, started lifeguarding in the early 20th century.

BROOKLYN: That's really cool. But did you say you started lifeguarding in the early 20th century, like 100 years ago?

GEORGE FREETH: Sure did. Now, let's meet your other instructor. He's just inside here at Duke's Surf Shack. Hey, Duke, come on out and say hi.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: Aloha, friends, who are also human like me. A human?

BROOKLYN: Another robot.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: Oh, man. How did you know?

GEORGE FREETH: These two are very smart.

JOY DOLO: I think I know who you're supposed to be. Is it Duke Kahanamoku?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: The one and only.

JOY DOLO: Olympic gold medalist, surfing legend, sheriff of Honolulu for 29 years, and star of movies and television Duke Kahanamoku?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: That's me. Oh well, I mean I am a robot programmed with all these memories and skills. I can talk just like him, surf just like him, and I have a shaved ice machine built into my chest just like him.

JOY DOLO: Pretty sure that last part is wrong.

GEORGE FREETH: You all know that the real Duke and George go way back, right? Long before Duke was famous. And George started modern lifeguarding. Those two learn to surf together right here on Waikiki Beach.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: And me and Freespot go way back to-- all the way back to about three weeks ago when we were built right here on this very beach. So you guys are going to be learning from the best.

JOY DOLO: And we'll be getting a whistle, right?

GEORGE FREETH: When you graduate.


GEORGE FREETH: Before we get started with the actual instruction, we're going to begin your training today with a video about the history of lifesaving. After all, there weren't always people in very official tank tops standing by the water.

BROOKLYN: Cool. Got any movie snacks?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: Yes. I literally told you I have a shaved ice machine in my chest. Let me do the honors.


JOY DOLO: Ooh, my favorite. I'll take pineapple. Thank you.

BROOKLYN: Wait. What's shaved ice?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: It's kind of what you mainlanders call a snow cone, but it's better. It's flavored syrup over thinly shaved ice. And you eat it with a spoon. Here, I made you a lychee one.


GEORGE FREETH: OK. I'll just pop the projector out of my shoulder socket here and get it all cued up. And Duke, got that movie screen ready?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: On the way, bro.

JOY DOLO: Cool. It just came right out of his head, like a transformer. Robots are all right.

GEORGE FREETH: Sh. The movie is starting.


MAN (ON VIDEO): So you want to be a lifeguard.

JOY DOLO: How did he know?

BROOKLYN: Amazing.

MAN (ON VIDEO): Of course you do. Becoming a lifeguard means joining a tradition of excellence, service, courage, and of course, fun in the sun. But it's not all a day at the beach.

JOY DOLO: I see what he did there.

BROOKLYN: That was a good one. Respect.

MAN (ON VIDEO): You may be wondering, how did lifeguards even become a thing? People have been swimming for thousands of years, and that means they also had to learn how to be safe in the water, long before the job of lifeguard existed. Lots of people swam in the oceans and rivers. The ancient Romans even built some of the first public swimming pools.

JOY DOLO: Swimming in togas sounds a little difficult to me.

MAN (ON VIDEO): In case you're wondering about Romans swimming in their togas, don't worry. They all swam in the nude.


MAN (ON VIDEO): It's OK, Brooklyn. Attitudes towards being naked in public were pretty different back then.

JOY DOLO: How did he know your name?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Pure coincidence, Joy.

JOY DOLO: This is weird.

MAN (ON VIDEO): In ancient times, many people believe that drowning was a result of angering the gods, so they wore special amulets to protect them. The British museum's ancient Egypt collection has some beautiful gold and turquoise charms shaped like tilapia fish. The charms were attached to the end of a child's braid to remind them to stay away from the water.

BROOKLYN: Did that work?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Maybe.

BROOKLYN: I thought you were supposed to be the expert on this stuff.

MAN (ON VIDEO): Hey, it was a long time ago, and I wasn't there.


MAN (ON VIDEO): The ancient Greeks were famous for their seafaring ways, but drowning was also a common occurrence, both in historical records and in mythology. But Greeks had some friends in the ocean. There are numerous accounts of drowning sailors being rescued by dolphins.

BROOKLYN: For real? Dolphins are like, nature's lifeguards.

JOY DOLO: Whoa! If I were rescued by a dolphin, I'd have to learn to say thanks in dolphin language. I think it goes something like--


MAN (ON VIDEO): Joy, I'm not going to tell you what you actually said in dolphin. But let's just say that a dolphin won't be saving you a second time.


MAN (ON VIDEO): Anyhow, Black and Brown people all over the world have historically been swimmers. If you listened to the swimming episode of Forever Ago, you'd already know that.

BROOKLYN: Oh, we made that episode.

MAN (ON VIDEO): Oh wait, you did?

JOY DOLO: Yeah. Get up to speed, my man.

MAN (ON VIDEO): No. OK. So you also know that the native people in North America were good swimmers too, and so were the people in Polynesia, a huge area of islands in the Pacific.

BROOKLYN: Oh, yeah. Like, in the movie Moana?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Exactly, Brooklyn. What's your favorite song from Moana?

BROOKLYN: Well, of course, I loved "How Far I Go." But I might have to give it to your welcome. I mean, The Rock is just so charming and-- why am I having this conversation with you again?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Never you mind. But I do believe he prefers to be called Dwayne Johnson these days. Did you know that his mother is from Samoa, which is part of Polynesia? So he's probably got a great swimming tradition in his family history too.

JOY DOLO: I'm pretty sure he was in that movie about lifeguards. What was it? Ocean Observation? Sea Surveying?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Do you mean Baywatch?

JOY DOLO: Nope. Never heard of it.

MAN (ON VIDEO): Oh. Sailors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries got special tattoos that some believed would keep them from drowning a rooster on the top of the right foot and a pig on the top of the left.

BROOKLYN: Why a rooster and a pig?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Those animals were usually kept in wooden crates on ships. And the crates would float, which meant the animals were most likely to survive in case of a shipwreck.

BROOKLYN: So the rooster and the pig became good luck symbols.

MAN (ON VIDEO): Side note. Did you know that the word tattoo is also from Samoa?

JOY DOLO: Just like The Rock. Samoa has given us so much.


MAN (ON VIDEO): So as we see, people had many theories about how to stay safe in the water, but no one was being specifically trained to save lives. Then in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, doctors became interested in how to revive people who had apparently drowned, and one invention, in particular, was commonly used. And let me warn you. It's a little cheeky.

BROOKLYN: What do you mean?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Well, it's a kit containing some tubes and hoses, along with the bellows-- a device with an air bag that you squeeze together with two handles, kind of like an accordion.

BROOKLYN: But what's cheeky about that?

MAN (ON VIDEO): When someone was pulled unconscious out of the river or lake, the bellows was connected to a tube, which was then put between the victim's cheeks.

JOY DOLO: You mean, their mouth?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Other cheeks.


MAN (ON VIDEO): Yeah. Those cheeks. And the doctor used the bellows to blow tobacco smoke into the drowned person's--

JOY DOLO: Butt. You can just say butt. It's OK.

MAN (ON VIDEO): Oh, narrating educational films is a high brow job, they said. You'll be teaching people important ideas, they said.

BROOKLYN: So wait, they blew smoke up a drowned person's butt to wake them up?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Oh, yes. Yes, they did.

JOY DOLO: Did that work?

MAN (ON VIDEO): Maybe once in a while. Probably just by coincidence. But we know now that there's no science behind it. And we have actually effective ways of helping someone who has stopped breathing, and they have nothing to do with the butt, thankfully. You'll be learning in your training. So as you see for centuries, people worried about drowning, but they didn't have a special type of person who could help keep swimmers safe.


You'll hear how that came to be in your next lesson. So remember, we don't have kindly dolphins or magic amulets to save lives. We have you, our lifeguards in training. It's a job for the brave, the strong, the ones who show grace under pressure, and who remember to reapply sunscreen regularly. Your training continues. Go forth and make yourselves a worthy of the red suit.


GEORGE FREETH: So you see. People wanted ways to be safe in the water for a long time, but they didn't have the kind of life saving experts we have today.

JOY DOLO: Wow. That made me even more stoked to lifeguard. The people need us. They demand us.

BROOKLYN: Yeah. I want to learn how to swim out to someone with one of those floaties and bring them back to shore.

JOY DOLO: And then everybody on the beach starts applauding.

BROOKLYN: And I get free shaved ice for life because I was so awesome.

JOY DOLO: I like how you're thinking. But before we get into that, how about a little--

CREW: First Things First.

JOY DOLO: It's the game, where we try to put things in order from oldest to newest. And today's items are seat belts, fire extinguishers, and CPR. OK. Now we have to guess. Brooklyn, which one came first? Which one came second? And which came most recently in history? What do you think?

BROOKLYN: I think it was CPR, and then it was fire extinguishers. And then I think it was the seat belts.

JOY DOLO: Oh, really?

BROOKLYN: I think belts were like the newest one.

JOY DOLO: Seat belts were the newest one in history?


JOY DOLO: And what about CPR? Why do you think that came first?

BROOKLYN: I don't know. I just have a good feeling about it.


JOY DOLO: Somebody's going to follow your gut. But it does seem like it could be something that was from like, ancient times, maybe? There could have been like a version of CPR that they used, maybe?

BROOKLYN: Yeah, maybe.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. And then fire extinguishers, second. That just seems like you got to make all the doodads that go with it.


JOY DOLO: Like, plastic, and metal, and--

BROOKLYN: Yeah. I just think that seat belts are like cars. And I think cars came newer so.

JOY DOLO: Oh, yeah. That's a good-- that's a really good point. Cars would be newer. That's a really good guess. Well, I'm going to go with you. I think you're right. But we'll hear the answers in just a bit.


The present is part of history too because for people in the future are right now will be there way back when.

BROOKLYN: So we're building a time capsule to show what our time is like.

JOY DOLO: And we want to know what would you put in our time capsule.

BROOKLYN: Maybe it's your favorite swimsuit or your favorite floaty.

JOY DOLO: Record yourself telling us about the item you have in mind and why you want to save it.

BROOKLYN: And send it to us at foreverago.org/contact.

JOY DOLO: So Brooklyn, what would you put into the time capsule this week?

BROOKLYN: I think I'd put the life preserver.

JOY DOLO: Life preservers. Yeah. Do you think that they'd be different in the future, like they might look different?

BROOKLYN: Oh, maybe. Maybe they have new technology. Maybe if a life preserver caught on to somebody, and then it squeezed them and adjusted to where they're at so that they can-- I don't know-- so it could be easier, and it's tight on their body.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. Yeah. So it just fit to them. That's cool. That's cool idea. We'll hear what more listeners would put in the time capsule at the very end of the show after the credits. Send us your recording at foreverago.org/contact. We can't wait to hear what you come up with.

BROOKLYN: More Forever Ago in just a moment. Don't go anywhere.


JOY DOLO: All right, Brooklyn. Let's reveal which of our First Things First is actually the oldest. So before, what do we say? We said CPR, fire extinguishers, and seat belts. And the answer is-- "da-da-da-da!" Oh, man, fire extinguisher was first in history.


JOY DOLO: Yeah. Isn't that interesting?

BROOKLYN: That's cool.

JOY DOLO: So the first known fire extinguisher was invented in the 1720s by Ambrose Godfrey, a German chemist who lived in London. They were attached to the walls, and each had a fuse on them. If there was a fire, it lit the fuse, and the extinguisher exploded, releasing the liquid inside that was supposed to put out the fire. Throughout the centuries, scientists have tried putting different chemicals in fire extinguishers to see what snuffs out fire is best. And then next up, you'll never guess. It's seat belts.

BROOKLYN: Oh, my gosh.

JOY DOLO: I know. I was so onboard with you in the car situation. Seat belts date back to the 1850s. One of the very first was created by Sir George Cayley in England. He had his coachman test a very early aircraft known as a glider. It was very dangerous. But Sir Cayley did at least include a seat belt for the coachman, who survived to tell the tale.

The first patent for a seat belt in the United States was in 1885, to keep people from being thrown from New York City taxis, which were drawn by horses at the time. Still, seat belts didn't become common in the air or in cars until much later, like the 1950s and 60s. And then most recent in history is CPR.

BROOKLYN: Seriously? That's--

JOY DOLO: Yeah. Ain't that nuts? CPR is from the 1960s. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. That's when you press on someone's chest and sometimes breathe into their mouth to help them to breathe and get their heart beating again on their own. Learning how to do this is an important part of lifeguard training. The procedure was invented in 1960 when doctors Kouwenhoven, Safar, and Jude combined mouth-to-mouth breathing with chest compressions to help patients when their heart stopped beating. Whoa, dude! So what do you think about that?

BROOKLYN: That's pretty cool.

JOY DOLO: That's pretty cool, right?

BROOKLYN: Yeah. I never knew that.

JOY DOLO: What surprised you the most?

BROOKLYN: Maybe the seat belts, that the seat belts were just-- they were the second ones.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. Yeah. I was totally onboard with the car situation. I was like, that's when they were invented, but--


JOY DOLO: I guess they were invented with gliders, with planes, which is cool to think about.


JOY DOLO: And then the fire extinguisher is first. I did not see that coming at all. At all.



JOY DOLO: That was nuts. I also really like the idea of them being attached to the walls, and then they have the stuff in there. And like the 1720s, that they can just blow around, and it just seems pretty neat.

BROOKLYN: Yeah, that's pretty cool.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. And then of course, CPR. That's something that we hear the term all the time. But it's interesting to know that it's just been around for less than 60 years.

BROOKLYN: Oh, really?

JOY DOLO: That's a good number, right? Yeah. That's a long time. I mean it's a long time, but it's not a long time. You know what I mean?


JOY DOLO: Coolio!


And now we're back with more Forever Ago. I'm Joy.

BROOKLYN: And I'm Brooklyn.

GEORGE FREETH: OK, trainees. Are you ready to get back to work?

JOY DOLO: I feel like we've barely gotten started. Where is my life preserver? When do I get to jump in a rushing river to save a sweet, old lady? Come on. Put me in, Coach.

BROOKLYN: Joy, I'm not sure either of us are quite ready for that.

GEORGE FREETH: Affirmative, Brooklyn.

JOY DOLO: Wait. We haven't learned how to run across the sand in slow motion yet. I heard that's a crucial lifeguard skill.

GEORGE FREETH: That is a very advanced lesson, Joy. We'll hit that up later. But for now, we're going to learn about how the sport of surfing is connected to our modern idea of lifeguards.

BROOKLYN: Surfing? That's how lifeguarding started?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: Sort of, but not right away. You see, people have been surfing in Hawaii for at least 1,500 years, and George and Duke were a huge part of its popularity spreading around the world.

GEORGE FREETH: That human versions of us were both born right here on Oahu. And when we started showing tourists our incredible water moves, lots of people wanted to learn.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: Want to check out my board? It's made of Koa wood. Isn't she a beaut?

JOY DOLO: It's gorgeous and huge.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: 16 feet, over twice as tall as me. Duke, I mean the human one, started the Hui Nalu club at Waikiki, to get more native Hawaiians like himself into surfing. And we taught some mainlanders on the side to make money.

GEORGE FREETH: Duke and I put on surfing demonstrations for visitors too. We always Drew a big crowd with those.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: I mean it's pretty amazing to see somebody do a handstand on a surfboard.

JOY DOLO: What? George, you can do that?

GEORGE FREETH: It's just a little trick. I worked up to impress the tourists. Want to see me and Duke bot do it?


DUKE KAHANAMOKU: You got it. Surf mode engage!






GEORGE FREETH: Spinning thing!


GEORGE FREETH: Flamethrower!

JOY DOLO: Dabbing!

GEORGE FREETH: Show stopping, ending!


JOY DOLO: Wow! Fireworks out of their hands?

BROOKLYN: How did they both just take off from the water and fly through the air on their boards like that?

GEORGE FREETH: Not bad, eh.

JOY DOLO: That was amazing.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: We added a few tricks that our human counterparts couldn't do. Why bother being a surfing robot if you can't judge it up a little, huh?

BROOKLYN: So that was super fun. But what does it have to do with lifeguarding?

GEORGE FREETH: Well, eventually, George and Duke got so famous through their surfing shows, that George got a job offer to work in Southern California. There was a gentleman who was building some new beach resorts there, and he thought surfing might be a great way to attract visitors.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: These places included huge hotels, where families could come vacation by the shore. And funny enough, big swimming pools right next to the beach.

JOY DOLO: Why would someone build a pool at the beach? The water's right there.

GEORGE FREETH: Because they thought the ocean was too dangerous for swimming. A group of locals had started a volunteer lifeguard group. But unfortunately, one of those lifeguards drowned during a training exercise. It was a tragic accident, and it almost spelled the end for the resort.

BROOKLYN: Oh, my goodness. That's awful. What happened next?

GEORGE FREETH: That's when George Freeth came to save the day. You see, many of the rescuers weren't good swimmers themselves, so they often used a small boat to pedal out to someone who was struggling. But getting a boat into the water takes time, and that's time you don't have in an emergency. So George knew the first step was making sure all the lifesavers had excellent water skills, both for their safety and the safety of others.

JOY DOLO: Yeah, that makes sense.

GEORGE FREETH: Speaking of which, we need to make sure you two can both swim with the best of them. We've got a training pool here at Duke's surf shack. And it's time for you two to show me how you can tread water, that is when you use your arms and legs to stay afloat vertically in the water.

JOY DOLO: Oh, I can totally do that. Here I go!


BROOKLYN: Wait for me, Joy.


GEORGE FREETH: While you are practicing, let me tell you about how the job of lifesaver or lifeguard, as it came to be known, grew after George's time.


Two groups, organized volunteer lifesavers to work in their communities. One was the Young Men's Christian Association.

JOY DOLO: That's the YMCA. That's where I practiced swimming too.

GEORGE FREETH: And the American Red Cross. They trained lifeguards to spot swimmers in distress and how to use tools like flotation devices and the rescue board.


DUKE KAHANAMOKU: That was Duke's invention-- a rescue board shaped like a surfboard but with some handles to make it easier to maneuver in the water.

BROOKLYN: I've seen those.


GEORGE FREETH: These days, lifeguards have a lot of gear they can use, like first aid kits that include remedies for injuries from marine life, such as jellyfish and stingrays--


--or spine boards straps to help secure someone with a back or neck injury.


JOY DOLO: What about the whistles?

GEORGE FREETH: Those are absolutely key, Joy. Thank you for remembering. Lifeguards also had to learn CPR. That's cardiopulmonary resuscitation--


--a way to help someone who stopped breathing by breathing directly into their mouth and putting pressure on their chest.

BROOKLYN: Sounds better than smoke up the butt.

GEORGE FREETH: And it is more effective too. These days, every public swimming pool and every public beach has professional lifeguards keeping an eye on the swimmers and ready to dive in.


I can make jokes. That was a pun. I'm ready to dive in whenever they are needed.


JOY DOLO: That's amazing. George, are we done treading water now?

BROOKLYN: Yeah. We must have been doing this for an hour already.

GEORGE FREETH: It's been a whole two minutes, but that's a good start. You can get out.

JOY DOLO: Whoa! That is not easy.

GEORGE FREETH: You are right. But it is important to learn how to keep your head above water when you can't touch the bottom.

BROOKLYN: Do you all see that person out there in the ocean waving really big? Is he in trouble?

GEORGE FREETH: Oh, my! That does look like someone having a problem. Quick. Get the rescue reel. Excuse me. Duty calls.

JOY DOLO: Wow! He runs fast.

BROOKLYN: What's the rescue reel?

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: It's George's invention? See that big wheel with all the cable wound around it? George is pulling it down the beach, so it's in front of that struggling swimmer. Now, he's grabbing the big torpedo-shaped flotation device attached to the end of the cable and pulling it with him as he's swimming out. So when he gets to the person who needs help, the lifeguards back at the beach can just reel them both in.

JOY DOLO: He swims fast too.

BROOKLYN: He's almost there.

JOY DOLO: Wait. What's happening?

BROOKLYN: It looks like the drowning guy just stood up?


GEORGE FREETH: Well, that was exciting. Turns out you thought the water was a lot deeper than it actually was and started to panic. But luckily, he was only in ankle-deep water. I told them to come for swim lessons later today because he needs it.

JOY DOLO: George, that was amazing to watch. So confident.

GEORGE FREETH: That confidence is a result of lots of time spent in the water, Joy.

BROOKLYN: What's your biggest tip for us as lifeguards in training?

GEORGE FREETH: The water can be a powerful enemy, but it can also be a powerful friend.


You must respect the water and never underestimate it.


With the right skills, though, humans and robots can live in harmony with the water. And it is so much fun.


BROOKLYN: Wow! We've learned so much on our first day of lifeguard training.

JOY DOLO: Yeah. We heard different ways people tried to keep safe in the water in olden times. We learned how a surfer from Hawaii came to California and started modern lifeguarding, and we even saw someone get rescued from several inches of water. I'd say we're ready for those whistles.



You've got a lot of skills to work on before you are whistle-worthy, like first aid, keeping the pool area safe, maintaining the pool water, cleaning the locker rooms, looking cool in sunglasses, pointing to the no running sign, doing a rescue dive, monitoring splash fights for when they turn ugly.

JOY DOLO: Oh, man.

BROOKLYN: It's OK, Joy. And hey, we're on the beach in Hawaii hanging out with two very cool robots. Not a bad way to spend the day.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: With some shaved ice make you feel better?


JOY DOLO: Yeah. I guess it would.

DUKE KAHANAMOKU: Blend your chest powers. Activate!


BROOKLYN: It's so cool how he does that.

JOY DOLO: Seriously, robots are so cool. It makes me want to whistle!

BROOKLYN: Still got it, Joy.

JOY DOLO: Oh, thanks.


This episode was written by Tara Anderson and produced by Menaka Wilhelm, Molly Bloom, and Sanden Totten, with additional production support from Khalesh Atadi and Anna Goldfield. Sound design by Eduardo Perez. Theme music by Mark Sanchez. Beth Perlman is our executive producer. Voice acting by Mark Sanchez and Sanden Totten. We had engineering help from Jess Berg and Derek Ramirez. The executives in charge of APM Studios are Chandra Kavati, Joann Griffith, and Alex Shaffer. Special thanks to Tracy and Miguel Malcolm.


JOY DOLO: Now it's time to add some cool stuff to our time capsule. Let's see what you got this week.


LUKE: Hi. My name is Luke, and my time capsule ideas is shrink globe in because the continents could look different in the future.

KATHERINE: When I do have a time capsule, is to put a dictionary in so people would know how we talked and to put a mask in so people would know what COVID was like.

JOY DOLO: Thanks to Luke and Katherine for those very smart ideas. If you have an object you'd like to see added to the time capsule, send it to us foreverago.org/contact. Your answer could be played on a future episode. Next week, we're going way back to get the lowdown on pirates. Thanks for listening.


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