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I'm Inspired by the Gratitude of the People I Save

Vladimir Eroshin, Head of the Strogino lifeguard station

Every day, specialists from city services take on a number of complex tasks to help citizens and keep the city alive and well. There is no doubt that their work is vital to the city, but we still know very little about them.

For our 'People of the City' section, we have asked these professionals about their unique experiences and interesting stories from the job. The interview with Vladimir Eroshin was prepared in partnership with the Moscow city utilities authority.

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How long have you been working in your profession and what made you choose it?

When I was 23, I decided to leave office life behind and try something new. I wanted to do something that felt tangible, instead of just sitting in an office and staring at a computer monitor all day. And even though my job back then did have a lot of variety and offered good career prospects, at the end of the day, I was just stuck in an office routine that I wanted to leave behind. That's when I decided to dedicate my life to saving people.

I've been working at the Strogino station of the Moscow City Water Search and Rescue Service for a little over seven years now, and I've served as the head of the station for about two years. I am currently a class 1 rescuer. I've helped rescue people in distress and drowning, and I've taken part in training dives and lifeguard training.

What does your work involve? Why is it important for the city and its residents? What are some of the most interesting parts of your job?

My main job is, of course, to manage the search and rescue station and to train and certify our lifeguards. However, I also consider my work with the public to be an integral part of the job. For me, it's important that people understand the possible dangers that water can pose.

I find it easy to talk to both younger and older people. I'm a relatively young manager, and I like to think of myself as someone who keeps up with the times. I try to get to know the people I talk to, so I can understand who needs more thorough training, who needs to brush up on a few skills, and who I can feel comfortable leaving to their own devices.

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What do you like about your job? Is there anything about it that inspires you?

I have the opportunity to constantly improve myself and strive to be better — to train my brain. I love always being on the move and ready for whatever the job throws at me. Lifeguard work keeps you on your toes. I also play volleyball professionally (I play for a bunch of leagues and teams and take part in both regular and one-off tournaments), so it's easy to combine work and pleasure to remain in top physical shape. In order to save someone, you need to be just a little bit stronger than them.

I draw most of my inspiration under water from the gratitude I see in the eyes of the people I save. In this job, you're literally breathing new life into them. And in those moments, you can't help but wonder what would have happened if you hadn't been there.

Could you share a funny/interesting/gripping story that happened to you at work?

I can't really think of one specific story. Our entire work is comprised of funny moments. We've got a team of guys who are constantly joking around and messing with each other. It's important to stay positive during a shift, but at the same time, you need to keep the respect of your team and know when to be serious.

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What are some of your favourite places in Moscow? Do you have any favourite spots related to the job?

One of my favourite places is the Strogino floodplain, as well as Serebryany Bor Island. Even though my work is mainly in the water, I also enjoy relaxing on the shore. I'm attracted to the water. It calms me down.

I do know a lot of lifeguards, though, who would never want to spend their free time near the water, because they can't help but be on high alert. They'd react every time a child screams or watch for people swimming too far from the shore. I can relate. When you see something unusual going on, you immediately start playing out all of the possible negative outcomes in your head. Lifeguards have a warped perception of reality. You've either been in a similar situation already or you've imagined the scenario in your head to be ready.

Name three places you'd recommend in Moscow. What are the must-see places for someone who's here for the first time?

You absolutely have to visit Red Square, just to soak up the energy of the place. I also recommend that everyone visit the Tsaritsyno museum-preserve. Taking a look at the Ostankino TV tower from up close is also an unforgettable experience. The size of it truly defies imagination. Even better if you can go up to the top for a bird's-eye view of Moscow. It's beautiful!

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Moscow's urban utility companies are responsible for developing the city's housing and utilities sector, landscaping, preserving natural territories, and providing civil protection to residents of our megacity.

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