PRM — Prevention, Recognition and Management

Since water and pool safety is such a huge issue for camps that provide aquatic recreation for their campers it’s important to understand that the primary responsibilities of management and lifeguards are:

A. To Prevent incidents;

B. To Recognize incidents or their potential;

C. To Manage incidents or their potential.


In order to prevent incidents, management and staff should develop a series of prevention strategies to include the development and appropriate posting of rules and regulations, and the enforcement of these rules and regulations by lifeguards and management personnel.

A comprehensive risk management program should be developed and implemented which involves input by all lifeguard and management personnel to (A) identify physical hazards and to remove those hazards or warn camperss of them, and (B) to identify activities which place campers at risk and to either prohibit these activities or safeguard the camper while he or she is engaged in those activities.

The risk management program should include a public education component, a hazard and risk assessment, development of prevention strategies, implementation guidelines, etc.

If lifeguard services are not provided, sufficient notice must be given as follows:

• No Lifeguard On Duty

• Swim At Your Own Risk

• Children Must Be Carefully Supervised At All Times

• No Swimming Without Another Adult In Attendance

• No Diving (in less than 9′ of water)

• Children Under The Age of 15 May Not Use The Pool Unattended Without An Adult Providing Supervision

It is the responsibility of management to develop Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which guide or govern lifeguards and other staff (like swimming pool or facility operators, maintenance personnel, managerial personnel, etc.) in their actions. These SOGs or SOPs would include operational expectations, policies, and procedures.

Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) should be developed and implemented, and all lifeguards, management, and other personnel affiliated with the facility need to participate in emergency response drills prior to the season and throughout the season to assure their ability to respond to emergency crises situations when or should they occur.

The development of the ERPs should include every conceivable contingency. Also, as a result of conducting emergency response drills, lifeguards and other personnel develop a greater appreciation for the need to prevent the incident from occurring in the first place, and are better prepared to respond to the emergency should one occur.

Managers/operators of any aquatic facility must develop and administer an appropriate risk management program and all personnel involved in the operation of the facility must participate in this program. The scope of a risk management program is to eliminate danger associated with the use of the aquatic facility.

A comprehensive threat analysis should be conducted to:

• Assess the physical facility for hazards;

• Remove the hazards or safeguard the public by warning them of the hazards;

• Assess activities that place patrons at risk; and

• Prohibit those activities or develop and implement appropriate safeguards to protect patrons engaged in those activities.


Lifeguard personnel must be instructed in effective surveillance procedures and techniques that are specific to the facility they are protecting.

The 30-Second Rule and the 10/20 Rule should be adhered to by all personnel and it is the responsibility of management to guarantee the lifeguards’ ability to adhere to these standards.

The 30-Second Rule implies that lifeguards must be able to provide effective surveillance of their entire area of responsibility and must be able to effectively supervise their area from the furthest extremes from one side to the opposite side and back within a 30-second period.

If this cannot be accomplished due to the size of the area, or the number of people within the assigned area, then the area must be confined, or additional lifeguards must be positioned.

The 10/20 Rule implies that lifeguards, while providing continuous and effective surveillance, must be able to assess the potential victim’s distress and must be able to determine whether or not intervention is required within a period of 10 seconds.

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Related posts:

  1. Day Camp Excursions
  2. On Guard
  3. Safety and Risk Management Checklist
  4. Aquatic Safety Review, Part 3
  5. Off-Season Prep
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