Think Ahead

As waterparks and spraygrounds continue to grow in popularity across the country, it is important to consider the inherent risks associated with these attractions.

Water parks bring their own specialized risk concerns.

As such, owners and operators have a responsibility to establish a reasonable and prudent risk-management plan that will provide for the safety of the patrons as well as the efficient operation of the facility.

A facility risk-management plan should include:

• Appropriate pre-service and in-service training programs for staff members

• Proper and strategic placement and supervision of lifeguards in various attractions

• Adequate instructions to patrons on the safe use of the attractions

Pre-Service And In-Service Training

For starters, pre-service training and orientation must be provided so staff members are aware of safety procedures and protocols throughout the facility. Prior to opening for the season, it is critical that team members attend this training and are provided with relevant safety manuals, brochures or other documents outlining the safety rules to be followed at each attraction.

Another goal of the meeting is to remind staff members to think about hazards in various environments, such as deep water, receiving pools and sprayparks.

Providing ongoing in-service training for lifeguards also is imperative. This keeps the staff current with any changes to safety rules and procedures as well as reinforces training and skills.

In addition, it is important that management either provide vision-screening for the lifeguards or require proof that they have undergone vision-screening to ensure they meet the requirement of 20/30 vision.

Failure to meet this requirement poses a risk that a lifeguard may not be able to clearly scan an assigned zone, thereby failing to detect a patron in distress.

Placement And Supervision Of Lifeguards

The proper number and placement of lifeguards is dependent on the attraction. For waterslides, a lifeguard should be at the top of each slide and at the bottom in the receiving pool. This not only ensures that help is readily available in case a patron has difficulty upon entering the receiving pool, but also assists in quickly moving patrons away from the slide exit.

Placement configuration also facilitates an effective communication system between lifeguards. The dispatcher needs to know when it is safe to send a patron down the slide. A lifeguard stationed in the receiving pool must be aware of the patron’s progress down the ride and indicate to the dispatcher that the patron has safely entered the splash pool and then exited the pool.

Such a system may incorporate the use of electronic red or green signal lights, whistles, radios or walkie-talkies, and requires that a lifeguard receive an all-clear before permitting the next patron to use the slide.

Train and position lifeguards for optimal safety.

Whatever communication system is selected, it must meet the specific needs of the waterpark; the system should also be reviewed on a regular basis and evaluated for effectiveness.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Swim Lessons
  2. Hey, Lifeguard, Look At Me!
  3. Safeguard Aquatic Facilities
  4. Are Your Lifeguards Adequately Trained?
  5. Day-Camp Excursions
  • Columns
  • Departments