Although this weekend didn't feel like summer was on its way, I gave my seventh annual presentation to over 300 lifeguards who will be employed by SwimAtlanta Pool Management (and lifeguarding at various Atlanta neighborhood pools this season. I was a competitive swimmer in high school, and lifeguarded and coached recreational swim teams while in college so I have a good bit of personal experience working in and around neighborhood pools and the issues that might arise.
My yearly presentation focuses on swimming pool accidents and risk management: liability, safety and legal issues for pool managers and lifeguards. Specific topics include proper procedures to follow when
an accident, injury or drowning occurs, the involvement of liability insurance, the importance of completing all records and documents relating to their work, and I also touch on sexual harassment issues in that setting.
My bottom line to lifeguards: don't fear the whistle. Use the whistle to keep the pool orderly and the kids in line. Curbing rowdy behavior will go a long way in reducing the risk of injury to smaller swimmers and children, will keep the pool a little easier to scan, eliminate distractions, and
reduce other boisterous activities that might lead to accidents or drownings (running on the pool deck, swimming over other people, diving or jumping in the shallow end, etc.).
I appreciate the opportunity SwimAtlanta Pool Management gives me every year to educate its employees on swimming pool risk management and I believe it's beneficial for both lifeguards and pool managers to be up to date and well-versed just in case the unthinkable happens.