This summer has to be one of the most anticipated by both patrons and lifeguards. That’s because many pool guests are coming off a year with limited opportunities for recreation and fitness. How do we prepare our guard team to meet the challenge of so many swimmers who are out of shape and out of practice? How can our new relationship with Ellis & Associates help guide us through these uncharted waters? Read on to learn about the changes we’re making to refine our safety practices.
Improvements to Training
Our updated lifeguard auditing program is all about training our area supervisors to spot risks in the facilities we manage to prevent accidents before they happen. While the word “Audit” may sound scary, it’s really about supporting our lifeguard team to make sure you’re set up for success each day you report to the stand.
“Increased supervisor engagement with our lifeguards will create positive reinforcement and solidify the lifeguard training standards,” says Ryan Snow, one of Guard for Life’s New Corporate Safety Directors. Ryan comes to our company with a deep understanding of Ellis & Associates’ Lifeguard Programs. He’s been working hard to adapt that experience into new programs to support and train our lifeguard team.
Take the Stop-and-Watch Philosophy, for example. Stop-and-Watch is an inventive way for our supervisors to gather vital information about whether or not you’re putting your training to use in the best way possible. If you’re unfamiliar with the 10/20 practice, that means you have to be able to scan your whole pool within 10 seconds, and also be able to make a save within 20 seconds. We all know that seconds count when responding to a guest in distress.
“It’s promoting zone awareness and asking the supervisors to take the time to observe their guards,” Snow said. Making sure you have the best vantage point to observe your entire zone of protection while guarding is a big part of the program.
We’re also empowering our area supervisors to provide you with the positive feedback to encourage a safe & stellar summer essential to our success. We’re all looking forward to catching you in the act of doing things right, so you can earn your Zero Accident Philosophy bands each month, a crucial component of Ellis & Associates’ culture.
But you don’t have to be nervous that you’ll be reprimanded at every chance. Snow says there’s absolutely no need to be concerned and that the spirit of the Audit Program is to support our lifeguard team
“We aren’t waiting for some ‘GOTCHA’ moment,” Snow said. “This is used as an education piece. The supervisor witnessed an area of improvement, and better now than after an accident had occurred.”
Pop Quiz …
Ongoing education is a cornerstone of making this year as safe as possible for our lifeguards and pool patrons alike. We’re providing frequent and targeted in-service opportunities throughout the season to help keep you refreshed on your training. For example, guard supervisors will have a QR code this year to kick off a quick training exercise. Supervisors scan the code and have guards answer five rotating multiple choice questions to ensure they’re keeping safety top-of-mind.
The first two questions relate to everyday lifeguarding tasks, like swimmer surveillance or identifying a guest in distress. The last three questions cover core lifeguard content, such as First Aid, CPR, and water rescues. Here’s an example of what these training moments will look like:
“It’s a great teaching opportunity for supervisors to give to their guards, while not actively providing swimming surveillance, like during a pool safety break,” Snow said. “If you get an answer wrong or are unsure, your supervisor is there to guide and educate.”
So, what words of wisdom does our Safety Team have for our partners to promote the safety culture in their offices?
- If you’re unsure why we are putting a rule or policy in place, it never hurts to ask why
- There is always a good reason behind what we do
- Don’t be afraid to get involved with your team and what they are learning
You will definitely enjoy your summer working poolside. Just remember to always keep safety your top priority!