Arguably one of the best ways to spend summer days, or cool off after a hot day in the summer, is to visit the community swimming park with friends and family.
But whether you’re a good swimmer or not, you may find trouble if your community swimming park is not managed safely.
Here’s what you need to know about lifeguard responsibilities and swimming park liabilities.
CPR & First Aid Training
Before starting official lifeguard duties, all employees with lifeguard responsibilities are required to undergo and successfully complete CPR and basic first aid training.
Even if they’ve done it before (for a previous job like babysitting), it’s important to keep these credentials current (they do have an expiration date, after all).
If you’re at a community swimming park and suspect that a lifeguard may not have these credentials, it’s within your rights to ask whoever’s in charge if their lifeguards are certified.
Lifeguards on duty are required to be on constant surveillance of their charges; proactively looking for any issues in the water.
It’s not necessarily a parent’s responsibility to ensure their kids’ safety, although if you suspect your child could have swimming issues, it’s certainly important to play an active role in surveillance yourself.
A lifeguard who’s distracted or not paying attention is a safety issue, and this should be documented or discussed with whoever’s in charge. Furthermore, if they suspect someone is in over their heads before something actually happens, it’s also their duty to get involved.
Also, it’s up to lifeguards to tell swimmers when it’s unsafe to be in the pool, like during a thunderstorm. A lifeguard that hesitates to vacate a pool when weather conditions are predicted to be bad, or when it starts raining, is not exercising good judgement.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially at the community swimming park.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s a lifeguard’s duty to intervene in the event that a swimmer is having trouble or is actually drowning. Lifeguards are trained to look for signs of struggle, and encouraged to act immediately.
A lifeguard who doesn’t act as soon as they spot a problem is not doing their job, and again, is acting in an unsafe manner. Injuries or death that result from a lifeguard’s negligence are serious problems that need to be addressed and investigated.
A lifeguard is also required to report all injuries after they happen. It’s a red flag if they don’t take the time to talk with victims or witnesses after an incident.
Finally, a lifeguard is responsible for the basic maintenance of the swimming park, including:
- Keeping the pool clean
- Adjusting water chemical levels
- Skimming off leaves
- Washing pool deck furniture
- Cleaning up excessive puddles around the pool
Additional problems that can’t be handled by lifeguards must be reported to someone who’s better able to handle them. If a person slips and falls because of negligent lifeguards, or gets sick from something in the pool, the responsibility falls back on the lifeguards on duty.
Visiting the community swimming park should be fun, and you should feel safe and taken care of when you’re there. After all, that’s what lifeguards are trained and expected to do.
If you go to a community swimming park and notice that someone who’s meant to protect and serve, like a lifeguard, is not doing their job – that’s a problem. You may have a case for premises liability if this negligence or incorrect handling of a situation results in an injury (or worse).