Safety is of the utmost importance at aquatic facilities. While pool management provides training and conducts independent professional audits, it is also helpful to test lifeguards and other staff members by conducting a personalized audit. The surprise nature of these exercises will ensure that the skills of the lifeguard on duty will truly be tested, but keeping it a secret can negatively affect a facility’s operations.
Know the importance of communication
Aquatics International magazine covered an incident in which a lack of communication regarding a safety training audit at a resort pool led to frustration and a scare for many observers. The exercise involved having an auditor lay face down in the pool, prompting the lifeguard to “rescue” him. The lifeguard recognized that it was an audit when someone with a video camera walked up to him. However, neither the guests nor many other resort employees were aware that it was not, in fact, a real emergency.
It turned out that the on-site paramedics and non-aquatic employees weren’t aware that there was going to be a safety training audit. The paramedics were frustrated, and one non-aquatic staff member had actually dialed “911” already. Furthermore, guests were scared and didn’t know what to do.
Work with auditors
Although a safety training audit is designed to test the skills of lifeguards, improper communication can lead to mass panic and frustration. A safety training audit shouldn’t leave a bad impression on staff members or guests. Here are three reasons to communicate with guests, aquatic employees and non-aquatic staff members about an upcoming safety training audit.
1. Avoid stress among aquatic facility employees: Lifeguards have been trained and certified. They’re well-aware that an incident may occur at any time. Letting them and other on-site emergency responders know that a safety training audit is going to take place at some point during the day doesn’t make them more ready to handle a rescue situation. They’re always prepared to deal with emergencies. This simply ensures that they won’t panic when the safety training audit does happen.
2. Ease the minds of non-aquatic staff members: Just because people don’t work in a pool doesn’t mean that they aren’t quick to respond to a perceived emergency as well. Cell phones are standard items nowadays, and you can safely bet that as soon as non-aquatic employees spot an emergency at the pool, they’ll quickly dial “911.” These quick responses are essential in guaranteeing the safety of an individual in trouble, so while it’s good that they’re always prepared, you don’t want to get in trouble for a false call. Doing so might even result in fines, so let every staff member at the facility know that a safety training audit is going to take place.
3. Let guests know: Management should always let guests know about a safety training audit. There are families with young children who may not react well to an emergency. Additionally, you can never predict how a crowd is going to react. Ensure that every visitor knows that an “incident” is scheduled to occur sometime within operating hours.
Ensure that nothing about the training will catch your facility off-guard.