Hey All,

Recently the subject came up at our facility about which is better to use.

Fanny Packs or Lifeguard Supply Boxes

(the lifeguard Supply boxes are small boxes that we used to use that are velcroed to the wall in numerous locations that any LG could easily get to and have all of the dry first aid supplies such as band-aids, paper towels, face mask, gloves- basically everything that we used the most and the basics; we had an all encomppasing Huge First Aid kit that also had the AED and BVM in it too).


Most of our supervisory staff has worked at locations where fanny packs have been used and we see the value in having them on the lifeguard, but we have found that a LOT of first aid supplies get ruined when the LG jumps in the water, even if the bandaids and such are in a plastic bag, so that point is causing us to waver back and forth on the subject.


I'm asking your help or points that you may have that would argue for or against using Fanny Packs.


Thank you in advance for your time! 

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I take a middle ground. Our hip packs only have essentials...gloves and pocket masks. Everything else is in our F/A kit. Works for us, may not work for everyone.

On the band aid issue, try a waterproof bag from a camping supply store or other aquatic vendor. It will work better than a zip loc baggie...although more expensive.

I like the idea of velcroed boxes on the wall. Industrial velcro is our friend.
We are the same way as Mr. Case. We have all of our aquatic staff equipped with a fanny pack that has gloves (vacuum sealed) and an Easy-Seal mask with one-way valve. Throughout the facilities we have Crash Bags with all of our first-aid supplies/AED/BVM/O2/etc. for any emergency. Once the EAP is activated either a supervisor radios for the break room staff to respond to a specific place or the staff hears the whistles and responds themselves. We have seen this works well with our staff. The only issue is making sure that everyone has those essential things in their packs and they work EVERYDAY. We have let people go before for not having their BSL equipment with them while on stand. Food for thought.
I failed to mention our supervisors carry around larger fanny packs with the minimum equipment as well as first-aid supplies in them for smaller incidents. We also have a full first-aid kit located in all the break rooms/guard offices and that is where we usually treat the patient. The Crash Bag is just a mobile first-aid room.
I like the idea of "dry goods" in boxes, have you had a problem with guests/patrons utilizing them as a self-serve dispenser?

I keep the minimum on my guard staff in hip packs, and my supervison staff carries the next level of needed basics. We keep two crash bags in easily accessable areas for serious emergencies. The biggest advantage to this approach, for our facility, has been incident reporting. The guards must call for a supervisor which helps make sure they are maintaining their scanning, however; they have all the needed equipment to handle an immediate emergency. I also know events are properly documented and the customer service is top notch for the guest who has experienced an unfortunate injury or accident.
Thank you for responding!
The supply boxes were mainly left alone, of course there was the occasional patron that attempted to help themselves and sometimes they were successful, but that was rare and if happened our lifeguards did a great job of stopping them, with little effort.
I love the idea of having the minimal amount of the guards themselves and having slightly more on the supervisor so that no matter what the guards are keeping their attention on the pool.
Thank you all for your feedback it has been incredibly helpful!!
We use fanny packs all the way, the most significant reason is because if a Guard needs to make a rapid rescue and or provide rapid First Aid they have all the PPE they could need right there with them, and our masks also allow for airway management in the water so we can ventilate a patient immediately if necessary. Our guards carry fanny packs with a seal-easy mask, and an Aloksak waterproof bag containing a minimum of a few band-aids in multiple sizes, we leave the rest of what they stock in the bag to their discretion. In addition on the waistband of their fanny pack they have a glove canister that can fit up to 5 pairs of gloves (they're required to have at least 2) so they don't have to fumble around inside their fanny pack when they need gloves. Then we have 3 portable first aid kits stationed around the facility that have more gloves & bandages, sterile dressings, roll gauze, hydrogen peroxide, shears, tweezers, etc. Lastly we have the Jump Pack which has the AED, Oxygen, BVM, manual suction etc. Everything can be stocked and re-supplied in our First Aid Room, we have at least one of everything in reserve.
I can not thank everyone enough for their input! Thank you very much!
I agree with several of the posts on this thread- fanny packs are a great way to keep PPE on the guard so that they are prepared for most situations- although care must be taken to ensure that its contents are not damaged by water.

One other advantage of the fanny pack is that it is one more piece of equipment/uniform that helps to identify the staff member as a lifeguard. This is especially useful when a guard is not wearing a shirt or if their swimsuit does not have identifying logos on it.
Thank you!
I think goggles and gloves are essential for the lifeguard to have on there person. I agree about the bandaids and other firstaid equipment could be kept in boxes on the stands. Not to abuse the term site specific but that is what it really boils down too. Some guards are first responders in some facilities and lifeguards at others. Some have emt/paramedics on staff some do not. These factors play into the decision for your operation. I just wanted to throw my thoughts out there.

Take care everyone,

We also use the Aloksak to keep the FA supplies dry inside the fanny packs. This has been helpful mostly at our outdoor pool when guards may be tending to minor cuts, bee stings, etc and the patron can stay where they are- the guards have the basics on them at all times. You can purchase the Aloksaks online at www.loksak.com for around $2.25 each- they last about 12-18 months before the seal starts to wear down.
One of the problems I have found at two different pools with fanny packs is that the one way valve molds after getting wet if not properly dried.

A Swim coach informed me that at another pool that did not have fanny packs it took a while for the lifeguards to respond and administer first aid to a very bloody nose. However they only had 1 firstaid kit in the building and that was in the main office

I like the idea of vaccum sealling the mask, that is a very good solution. As for quick first aid administration I have found it benefitial to have Lifeguard supply boxes near the guarding position for quick administraition of first aid.


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