Make Water Safety your Priority!  Water is an amazing thing… It soothes us. Its serene, sparkling surface invites us in to enjoy a dip, especially on hot summer days. But its allure can be dangerously deceptive. Calm water can hide strong currents, hidden debris, sudden drop-offs into deeper water, and colder temperatures. Such dangers take many lives each year. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, drowning ranks as the number two killer of its most vulnerable victims — children. Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a life guarded beach, always use the buddy system! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses. Never leave a child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone. Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests. Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around  including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous. If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning. Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm. Maintain Constant Supervision Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water. Would You Know What to Do? Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. In an aquatic emergency, every second counts. Survival depends on quick rescue and immediate care. How big is the problem? From 2009-2013, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 347 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive...

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Safety Check!

Safety Check!


Posted By on Feb 19, 2014

Safety Check! You’re not ready for the new season until you complete this risk- management checklist. With everything from hazardous chemicals to heavy equipment, aquatics facilities are a potential land mine for risk managers. Here’s an opening season checklist to help you diffuse safety issues before they become explosive. Inspect barriers. Ensure that chain link hasn’t been cut and vertical rails in fencing are no more than 4 inches apart. Use a tape measure. Your eye may not detect a quarter inch of additional space, but that little bit of extra room may be all a child needs to squeeze through and into your facility. Avoid ornamental fencing with horizontal members because youngsters may find this tempting to climb. Likewise, do not position benches next to fences. This can give a climber just the boost needed to get up and over your fence. Make sure all gates open outward, are self-closing, and have latches installed out of the reach of children. Updaterecords. Contact the Health Department, the Agriculture Department and any other government agency for which you must maintain records. Ask for a copy of their report forms. Use this as a basis for the records you keep at your facility. Make sure logs are filled out accurately and consistently — they may be your best defense if an incident leads to litigation. Train your staff on what to include and what to exclude on chemical test logs and incident reports. Facility records should be limited to facts; opinions should be saved for staff discussions. Run In-service training. This should be done with the entire staff before opening the pool for the season, and then regularly throughout the season. Emergency skills should be practiced in the setting where they’ll be used. Ensure that all equipment is operational and all certifications are up to date. Check signs. Make certain that signage meets code, is properly positioned and easy to understand. Measure water depth and check to see if depth markers are correct. Install the international “No Diving” symbol alongside each depth marker in shallow water. At emergency telephones, place signage that indicates whether callers should dial “911,” “9-911” or just lift the receiver and listen for Emergency Services to respond. Review chemical stock. Call the Agriculture Department to pick up chemicals that should be disposed of. Store fresh chemicals in their own containers or in new storage vessels. Do not combine chemicals to save storage space. And do not store incompatible chemicals — for example, chlorine and acid — in the same area. Check with your fire marshal to determine how much flammable material may be stored on site. See...

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Shallow Trouble?

Shallow Trouble?


Posted By on Feb 19, 2014

With large aquatics centers and waterparks increasing in popularity — many featuring zero-depth entries, splash pads and more shallow-water attractions — more and more people are able to experience and enjoy water in new ways.  But are you staying away from Shallow trouble? However, this also presents new challenges to pool and waterpark visitors, who mistakenly think they aren’t at risk of drowning at a shallow depth or with moving water. Many guests, often adults and adolescents, are non-swimmers and don’t even know it. This is a scary scenario for any aquatics operator. Large waves in the wave pool, currents in the lazy rivers, and the disorientation associated with going down slides with twists and turns, often is underestimated and can present a huge danger. As an aquatics director, we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in adult assists and active saves in the past six years. In many cases, lifeguards are helping a person who is taller than the water depth in which he or she is getting rescued. The embarrassed, but grateful, patron often offers a common explanation, “I lost my footing and panicked.” In these cases, lifeguards often help the person merely stand up. This lack of respect of the water can potentially place children at greater risk, too. Parents or camp counselors are less attentive because the water is shallow. The vast majority of the active saves of children now have been related to an unattended child who got into water that was too deep. Well-intentioned parents or counselors may tell a child to stay in the shallow area. But those of us who work in aquatics know the lure of activity pools’ many features are just too enticing for kids to resist. They easily wander and explore — often to deeper water. Similarly, lifeguards sometimes need to rescue a child wearing a Coast Guard-approved safety vest. While safety vests are wonderful tools for parents to help protect their children, they are no substitution for adult supervision and often provide a false sense of security. I’ve seen children wearing life jackets incorrectly needing assistance. More frequently, children are unable to roll from front to back or vice versa while wearing the life jackets, resulting in submerged mouths and noses. Because of the increased saves related to the misconception that shallow water is without safety risk, consider some of the following basic operational procedures as a start toward reducing the risk and combating the problem: 1 Maintain accurate signage. Warn all swimmers that slides and attractions can cause disorientation and that “shallow” water is equally as dangerous as deep water because of changing depths, currents and other...

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