Why does drowning occur in pools with lifeguards?
- The majority of pools across the US are guarded by one lifeguard alone.
- The majority of lifeguards are young, part-time and inexperienced.
- Supervision of lifeguards is inadequate. Lifeguards that appear to be Rescue Ready are not proactively scanning.
- Aquatic emergency action plans are untested and not practiced.
- New lifeguard orientation and training, and lifeguard in-service training are inadequate.
- Swimmers are not being deep water tested and non-swimmers are not being restricted to shallow water, wearing colorful identification.
- Lifeguards are being deployed with little regard for protection zones.
- Lifeguards are distracted by more than one job, such as taking and recording chemical readings, counting and recording swimmers, installing and removing lane lines.
- For indoor pools the recommended rotation every 20 to 30 minutes and a 15 minute break every two hours is not provided.
Can technology help?
Technology is also adding layers of complexity to aquatic safety and rescue. Telephones and single activation site pool emergency alarms are no longer considered adequate. Multiple alarm sites or wireless remote activators carried by each life guard are becoming the standard.
Source: The above material was extracted from: “No Child Should Drown in a YMCA Pool”, Journal of YMCA Professionals, December 2006.
A system that provides an automatic alert when bathers are in trouble is in advanced trial.
|"Lack of an efficient communication system has consistently been identified as a challenge to YMCAs during the hundreds of pool visits and emergency drills conducted by YMCA Services consultants each year. Lifeguards need to be able to quickly activate the emergency response and then assist a victim. They cannot be tied up waiting on a phone, looking for an air horn, or even worse left alone."
-- Michael Gertler, YMCA Services