Aquatic Safety Reminders

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Summer is again nearly upon us and it is time to renew efforts to keep your swimming facilities safe. It goes without saying that a single page bulletin cannot address all of the aspects of providing safe aquatic fun seeing as how many factors need constant attention. Attention to detail is key to operating a safe aquatic facility.

Lifeguard Positioning

  • Guards should be situated so that glare does not compromise their view. Changing conditions throughout the day alter what location is ideal, meaning that guards should reevaluate frequently
  • Seating in an elevated chair, standing by the edge of the pool, or pacing around the edge of the pool are all acceptable positions
  • Standard height chairs should never be used by lifeguards
  • Guards should be situated so that their eyes are at least 5 feet above the water
  • Guards should be located so that they can get to a distressed swimmer within 10 seconds

Lifeguard Behavior

  • Guards should be constantly scanning and have no distractions
  • Every section of the swimming area should have the ability to be reasonably scanned above and below water
  • Guards must be rescue ready. This entails:
    • Being clearly identifiable by their attire
    • Have the ability to enter the water without hesitation
    • Having a rescue buoy, waist pouch with lifesaving equipment, and whistle fastened to their body at all times

Other Notes

  • Test, Mark, and Protect non-swimmers
  • Emergency Action Plans should be posted in a staff-accessible location for reference, though the staff should have such plans memorized.
  • Lifeguard to swimmer ratios should not exceed 1:25
  • Aquatic areas should have controlled access, either enclosed by at least a 4-foot tall fence or in an indoor location that has doors or gates at all entrances.

Ensuring your facility and staff are compliant with these recommendations will lead to a greater likelihood of an enjoyable aquatic experience. A summer free of aquatic incidents is a successful summer.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.

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