Life Jackets in Pools?

June 28, 2017

The warm weather is finally here and families and children are heading to pools and lakes to cool down. Swimming is a standard summer activity but many adults and children aren't strong swimmers. This can lead to terrible drowning tragedies if non-swimmers get into water that’s too deep. While lifeguards are there to protect swimmers in many situations, this isn’t always the case.

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Private Personal Training at the Y?

March 30, 2017

One of our loss prevention experts recently received a question that many YMCAs and larger fitness facilities face. Employees at this YMCA noticed some of their members using the facility to train other members. This isn't an unusual occurrence. Someone who wants to make money with their skills offers to provide training for others, using the YMCA or fitness center as a meeting place. They could be offering swim lessons, sports training, personal training, or other services.

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Pool Safety: Starting Blocks

February 27, 2017

Last month, one of our loss prevention experts was at a YMCA pool. A swimmer was up on a starting block getting ready to jump into the pool when suddenly the block broke, sending the platform and the swimmer crashing into the pool. When our rep and the aquatics director looked at the broken starting block, they discovered the galvanized bolts holding it together had completed corroded and rusted (see photo below).

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Keeping Pools Safe with Swim Tests

October 31, 2016

Too often here at West Bend we receive frightening near-drowning claims. These claims can result in serious injury and many times the victims are children. A child who can’t swim wanders into the deep end during a pool party. A child who’s supposed to be wearing a lifejacket takes it off and no one notices. A child who can’t swim tells her parents she will be in another area of the Y but instead decides to go swimming with her friend. These dangerous scenarios happen all the time.

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Drowning Tragedy at YMCA Pool

February 19, 2016

Last month, a talented swimmer on the Dartmouth College swim team was exercising in a Florida YMCA pool while on vacation with his family.  After a challenging 4000-yard swim set, he attempted four laps across the pool without taking a breath. Unfortunately, he was not successful.

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Can you beat this drowning simulator?

August 13, 2015

Many people think that if someone is drowning, it will be extremely obvious. Lots of splashing, screaming for help, and arm waving. But this almost never happens. The Instinctive Drowning Response, a phrase coined by Francesco A. Pia, PhD, prevents someone from waving or calling for help. Their bodies focus on breathing, not speaking, and their hands and arms are often instinctively pushing down on the water, not waving for help. This makes it much harder for lifeguards to spot victims.

A fantastic new website lets you see this for yourself. Computer programmer Francisco Saldaña created

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Safety at the Y in 2014

April 10, 2015

West Bend Mutual Insurance Company works with more than 200 Y associations throughout the Midwest. Each year, these Ys submit hundreds of insurance claims to West Bend. This year, we conducted a thorough analysis of each of these claims and held a live online seminar for our customers to discuss the results. To help make other Ys (and similar organizations) safe for

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Scathing Review of USA Swimming's Abuse Scandal

November 21, 2014

A new article in Outside Magazine explores the prevalence of sexual abuse in swim clubs across the country. Author Rachel Sturtz interviewed abuse victims, their families, the lawyers involved in the cases, and abuse experts. The story that emerges is shocking and painful. This piece, while extensive, and at times disturbing to read, is

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The World's Largest Swim Lesson

June 19, 2013

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death of children ages 1-5. Additionally, research shows that children who do not learn to swim by the 3rd grade most likely never will. These two issues are the inspiration for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, an initiative sponsored by the World Waterpark Association and supported by the PoolSafely campaign.

Yesterday’s attempt at a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest swim lesson saw an estimated

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The Story Behind Dr. Heimlich and His Famous Maneuver

May 09, 2013

Did you know that Dr. Henry Heimlich first tested his technique to dislodge stuck food on a dog? He tied a string around a piece of meat and forced it into the airway of an anesthetized dog. And did you know that Dr. Heimlich is still alive!? I hadn't the slightest idea. I also wasn't aware that there was so much controversy surrounding

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