I am facing a dilemma that all of us might currently face or have faced in the past. Our Rec Center is set up so that there is always a Manager on Duty (MOD) or Facility Coordinator (FC) present at all times the facility is open. I am sure that most rec centers are set up in a similar fashion. The way our shifts work is that we have an MOD AM and an MOD PM. These people are responsible for the facility until the Facility Manager (or acceptable substitute) is in for work.
For the life of me, I cannot get the other MOD's and FC's to do proper checks on the Aquatics Center. I have literally written a book for them containing all pertinent information about policies, procedures, chemical troubleshooting, etc... I have also asked that the lifeguards turn the Daily Operations Report in to the MOD at the end of the day for initials that all safety checks were completed etc... I have ALSO developed a "quick check" sheet that the MOD's and FC's can use to assess the Lifeguards' performance and then report back to me.
Needless to say, none of this has been successful. I have had to schedule a second guard for the first hour (thank God I found one!) because the MOD's and FC's weren't even answering the hand-held radio we use for the "opener" to communicate with the "outside world".
Obviously, from a liability perspective, this is a nightmare. ESPECIALLY if one of my opening guards were to go down and the MOD/FC was not checking the pool area! I have guards as old as 66!
Does anyone have any suggestions on how they have been successful at ending the (innocently enough) ignorance that non-aquatics professionals tend to show towards aquatics? Sorry for the long discussion but I feel very strongly about this and I have tried and tried and tried to e-mail and call to raise these issues to my supervisors to no avail...
Try having a heart to heart discussion with them about what will happen if there is a critical incident while they are on duty. Ask them whether they really feel ready to deal with it. Show them a drowning video or two where lifeguards are not paying attention and a drowning occurs. Maybe if they realize the potential situations they may have to deal with, they will take it all more seriously and embrace the aquatic portion of the facility.
One big question I have is are they Lifeguard certified? I fully believe that the top person in charge of the facility at any given time should be extremely knowledgable when it comes to Lifeguarding and CPR (for Lifeguarding), because ultimately they are going to be in charge of any critical situation and they will need those skills to handle it.
If they are not certified, encouraging that certification, and the training they will get, should make them take it all much more seriously.
Thank you for the input! I will do this with all the sincerity and passion I feel for it and hope that i can get through to them! To answer your big question: Yes, all MOD's and FC's are required to be CPR/FPR w AED certified. However, they are hung out to dry when it comes to staying fresh because their Supervisor does not do training in-services with them. At this point in time I am the only LGI(T) and CPR Instructor that we have so I offer to hold weekly refreshers but get no takers. It is funny that you mentioned that they are the ones in charge during a critical emergency yet all of our MOD's and FC's IMMEDIATELY page the lifeguards when there is an actual emergency and by the time the guards get there, no assessment has been done, the patient is in the exact place they were found (at least they "did no further harm"....)!!!!! The MANAGER actually defers to the lifeguards in every (physical injury) emergency!! While I am not opposed to this because I know my guards know more than they do, it is a bit frightening to place that much responsibility on the shoulders of a potentially 16 year old kid!
I have invited the FC's and MOD's to our Aquatic in-services as well as their supervisor. The only time I get contacted by their supervisor is when their two-year CPR/FPR certs run out and it is time for me to run another class. And... no matter how well i think i can teach it to them, they are not going to remember it a year later...
I will take your advice and use it. I am always open and willing to try new ideas especially for what I consider to be huge liability issues! - Thank you again.
...and no matter what... I promise i will not give up trying to get everyone on the same page!
I applaud your due diligence. You are taking the right steps and doing the right things. But sometimes this isn’t enough to get others to do their part. You describe an all too familiar situation.
It is a maxim that without consequences people will perform the least amount of work possible. For consequences to be effective, they must originate from the top. The leadership is responsible for organizational culture. Leadership establishes and prioritizes organizational values, norms and rewards. You must bring these concerns to the highest level of management so a reprioritizing can take place. Perhaps you can email the safety officer or risk manager for assistance. It is important to establish a “trail” that relieves you of culpability in the event an incident. An email is a good start in that it establishes a record of concern and, as most of upper management knows, it puts the organization on “notice.” Bringing your concerns to the highest level puts skin in the game for everyone since the legal theory of “foreseeability” now is in play.
Your concerns for your staff are well placed. There is a high reliance on the lifeguards to perform outside their primary tasks, and this reliance can lead to disaster if this is the established standard of practice.
Forgive my pun, but if you don’t act to curb this indifference, you’re dead in the water. Good luck.
Thank you all for your replies! This site and service are wonderful assets to our communities and the Aquatics community as a whole! I look forward to using it more often to troubleshoot and (if i possess any) offer suggestions of my own!