PRM — Prevention, Recognition and Management

And, if intervention is required, the lifeguard must be able to effect the rescue within 20 seconds. In order for this to be accomplished, the lifeguard must be appropriately positioned to be able to provide effective surveillance, and to be able to respond anywhere within his/her area of responsibility within the 20-second time period.

Lifeguards must be vigilant in their duties while positioned at their assigned stations and must provide continuous and effective surveillance. They must anticipate the rescue and must remain alert to recognize distress victims in, on, and around the water, including victims at the surface as well as victims submerged below the surface of the water.

When groups are using the facility, it is the responsibility of the group leadership to provide additional supervision of participants in, on and around the water to supplement the lifeguards’ surveillance capabilities.

If no lifeguard service is available, it is the responsibility of management to advise the group there are no lifeguards on duty, and to provide stringent supervisory and safety guidelines that must be adhered to while the aquatic facility is in use.

When an incident occurs at a “supervised” facility that is not immediately recognized by supervisory personnel, it is typically due to one of three factors. These factors are referred to as the RID Factors:

R = Recognition

Supervisory personnel fail to recognize the victim’s distress or the potential for the incident.

I = Intrusion

Supervisory personnel fail to identify and recognize the incident or its potential because they are engaged in activities which intrude upon their ability to provide effective surveillance.

D = Distractions

Supervisory personnel fail to recognize the incident or its potential because they are engaged in activities which distract from their level of attention and vigilance.

Lifeguard personnel are taught general surveillance principles and procedures within their lifeguard training course. However, it is the responsibility of management to instruct lifeguards on the procedures which must be used and adhered to within their specific facility in order to supervise the campers in all activities when in, on, and around the water.

The principles and procedures for each facility are based on the design of the facility, the number of campers, the number of lifeguards, the activities the campers are engaged in, environmental factors, etc.

Lifeguards must understand the principles which impact the Standard of Care as it relates to their ability to prevent, recognize, and manage incidents or their potential.

Management must continuously assess the activities and numbers of campers in, on, and around the water in order to determine the number of lifeguards or other supervisory personnel that are required to assure safety.

If lifeguard services are provided, lifeguards must never be allowed to be “off duty” and should always be positioned appropriately to provide surveillance and to provide the protective services required of the patrons.

Any other duties assigned to lifeguards must never be allowed to intrude upon their ability to provide effective surveillance, and lifeguards should never be allowed to talk to other lifeguards or anyone else in order to prevent the lifeguards from getting distracted from their surveillance responsibilities.

Management

Management of the incident or the potential for incident refers not only to the activation of an Emergency Response Plan in the rescue of patrons, but also in the enforcement of rules and regulations.

Facility rules and regulations must be consistently and appropriately enforced in order to prevent incidents. An active and continuous assessment of physical hazards must take place and the mechanisms must be developed to identify these hazards and to either remove them or warn patrons of them.

A continuous assessment must also be made of the activities campers are engaged in within the facility in order to determine their level of risk.

When the potential for an incident is recognized due to a physical hazard, or the activities campers are engaged in, lifeguards or management personnel must remove the hazards or warn patrons of the presence of the hazard(s). They must enforce rules and regulations and prohibit activities or appropriately safeguard any activities which place campers at risk.

Lifeguards and supervisory personnel must recognize the incident at its inception and effect a rescue in order to prevent the progression of the incident and the deterioration of the victim’s condition.

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