We have a member that wants to recongize any lifeguard that makes a lifesaving save. He wants to put a plague in the pool area and award the individuals with a cash gift. We have 2 pools and wants to recongize only the guards in the lap pool. Our pools are on either end of the building. I am wondering if anyone does this type of program. If so, what are the benefits and do you see any negative impact?
Oh BOY! Is that a slippery slope to competition. I have a special wall plaque in our Front Office where we post the names and times of guards who tread water (with a 10 lb brick) for more than an hour. Based on the drooling response to that... I would not dare put a "rescue count" on the wall. Besides- a rescue is not something that can be quantified as easily. There will be discord if some of your staff doesn't feel that a rescue was legitimate. I think the last thing we want is staff judging rescue intentions.
We stress that it is just as important to be THAT preventative lifeguard who stays on top of potential problems and doesn't actually make that many rescues.
We have an angel charm that goes on their lanyard for a rescue (if they enter the water). During our weekly staff training round up, we all review the video and make a formal presentation of putting the angel on the lanyard. It plays up the speed in which the guard spots and reacts to the emergency.
What constitutes a save? Going in the water? Having to perform CPR? Summoning EMS?
I agree with Elise. I don't know how to legitimately recognize the responders without encouraging lots of additional water entries (especially with money). It is a nice gesture, but on the same token what about the guard that never makes a save because they anticipate the swimmers getting into trouble. Who is the better guard?
Maybe a "rescue" patch for their uniform. Then they are recognized, but if they collect too many someone will wonder why.
I am also concerned about why the guards at the one pool are treated differently than the others. I would suggest they put their recognition into something for all the guards (pizza party, movie night, miniature golf, thank you recognition, etc.).
We don't have this type of program. While it seems to be a good idea on the surface it opens a bunch of cans of worms as Steve and Elise have mentioned. The biggest red flag I have in my mind is the possible ethics violations. I'm not sure of the laws in Michigan and how they relate to your Non-Profit Center/organization but in some circumstances it might be an ethics violation.
I like Steve's idea about patches for their uniforms. Maybe you can do something similar and if the patron really wants to support them he could buy the reward and donate them to the facility for you to distribute.
At the risk of repeating what has already been said, I have some concerns about what you've suggested. We want to be encouraging guards to NOT perform rescues, but to ensure rescues never need happen through preventative and proactive life guarding. This creates a quandary of course (one that exists in any number of emergency services). How do you recognize and reward a lifeguard who ensures nothing happens?