Does that Lifeguard Belong on the Pool Deck?

August 15, 2012 by John Oliver

Imagine that your pool experiences the worst-case scenario... a drowning. In addition to grieving family members, distraught lifeguards, and a devastated community, you're also be flooded with attention by lawyers and media outlets. In all of this chaos, how much energy do you think you'll be able to dedicate to compiling the paperwork that may make or break the future of your facility?

When something goes wrong at your pool, whether it's a drowning or a slip and fall, one of the first things prosecuting attorneys will be looking for is information on your facility's policies and procedures. They'll want to know... did the facility have a policy in place designed to prevent this injury, and if they did, why didn't the policy or procedure work? If an investigator discovers that a procedure was in place and your lifeguards or other staff members simply didn't follow it, you could be looking at increased liability and an uphill battle in court.

They'll also want to know... did those lifeguards actually belong on duty? In addition to looking through policies and procedures, a prosecuting attorney will also be looking to see if the pool staff had out-of-date lifeguard, first-aid or CPR certifications. After all, if they aren't up-to-date on certification, they don't belong on the pool deck.

So how do you keep track of all of these details?

Lifeguard file audits.

What is a lifeguard file audit?

In this brief YouTube video, Mike Kipp, the Loss Prevention Manager for West Bend, explains what a lifeguard file audits consists of and why it's so important for aquatics facilities to complete them.

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How often should a lifeguard file audit be completed?

Mike Kipp says:

I would recommend that lifeguard audits be conducted at least once a year. It doesn't necessarily need to be conducted by your insurance carrier. Lifeguard audits can be performed by internal staff... someone like an Assistant Executive Director or the person that oversees the Human Resources department.

I think these need to be performed annually because there is always that tendency for all of us to let paperwork slip. We know our customers know how important keeping up-to-date info is, but when you get wrapped up in day-to-day operations like scheduling lifeguards, these things can fall through the cracks.

Can West Bend help my pool with a free lifeguard file audit?

In addition to a wide array of other loss prevention services, West Bend is happy to offer customers with free lifeguard file audits. In most cases a West Bend loss prevention representative can be at your facility within a few days. Customers interested in this service should contact their loss prevention representative and make it clear whether you'd like the to audit to be announced to the aquatics director or completely unannounced. The representative will arrive with the iPad application that Mike Kipp mentioned in the video and you will receive a full print-out of the findings. Pictured right: A screenshot of an actual lifeguard file audit.

If you are not currently a West Bend customer, but are interested in learning more about our comprehensive insurance products for YMCAs, private swim clubs, and other aquatic facilities, please take a moment to find a West Bend independent insurance agent near you.

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