Pool management can be full of contradictions at times. While you’re committed to providing a fun and safe environment for all your patrons, you’re still running a business at the end of the day. Occasionally, these two motivations will intersect: Should you buy expensive pool drain covers or save a few bucks and hope it turns out okay?
Experienced pool management professionals will always choose the former, but those new to the industry may be tempted to cut corners on safety equipment to gain a bit more wiggle room in their profit margins. Because pools attract so many people during the summer, even the smallest unprotected feature of your facility has a good chance of causing injuries. Instead of pulling a half measure, go all out on these often ignored safety tips.
Install pool drain covers
Like so many things in pool safety, drains are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they help circulate the water through a filtration system that keeps the level of bacteria in the water below harmful numbers. Without drains, swimmers couldn’t enjoy a dip, but without drain covers, you may be putting patrons at risk.
CNN explained that uncovered pool drains can sometimes exert hundreds of pounds of force on unsuspecting swimmers. Even adults can be pulled below the water’s surface, which makes it difficult for lifeguards to notice that anything’s wrong at all.
Pool drain covers can be made from inexpensive, lightweight materials or sturdier metals, but anything is better than nothing.
Keep out after-hours swimmers
There’s a reason many pools hire lifeguards to watch over crowds, which is why swimming in a facility without one on duty can be so dangerous. If you factor in children who accidentally stumble into unsecured pools or teenagers who break into locked facilities, there’s a whole other host of issues pool management must deal with.
Natasha-Lee Newman, a West Australian mother, recently brought a community pool to court because it repeatedly failed to install a secure fence or similar barrier to keep unauthorized patrons out of the water when a lifeguard wasn’t on duty. Newman’s son, James, walked through a faulty screen security door and later drowned in the pool.
“You want to be able to protect your children and I knew that door wasn’t safe,” Newman told the West Australian.
Properly securing your pool not only avoids events like these, but it reduces the likelihood that your facility will be damaged by anyone who tries to sneak in after hours. While a fence or security door may not mesh with your pool’s overall aesthetic, the safety risks are too big to ignore.
Hire some lifeguards
You have been around pools and pool management your entire life, but that doesn’t mean that you know all the ins and outs of water safety. In fact, it’s often best to delegate the critical parts of water rescue and patron education to the best front-line staff pools have to offer: lifeguards.
NewsMiner.com explained that most lifeguards are certified by the American Red Cross in several different rescue techniques, such as CPR, water-borne recovery and exceptional swimming skills.
“The job is more difficult than it appears,” Adam Parra, a lifeguard at a pool in Nikiski, Alaska, told the news source. “It can be exhausting. People don’t give lifeguards enough credit.”
Instead of giving lifeguards credit, give a few of them jobs at your facility. Even if all of your safety equipment fails, you can still rely on lifeguards to improvise a quick and effective rescue.
Teach patrons how to swim
This is one of the most difficult safety tips to implement, but it’s undoubtedly the most effective. While drain covers and fences keep inexperienced swimmers from the hidden dangers of your facility, people who know how to handle themselves in the water can avoid these problematic areas altogether.
Set up swimming lessons through your lifeguards or an outside professional. Patrons will likely see this as a fun educational opportunity, while you can sit back and relax knowing that your customers are taking the right steps to protect themselves in any body of water they may encounter in the future.