Properly trained, certified lifeguards are very aware of how tiring continually watching a pool full of swimmers can be. To reduce the risk of their attention waning and prevent potentially fatal pool accidents, they constantly change position, changing their view of the pool regularly thereby keeping alert.
Other ways to focus attention
They will also avoid being distracted by not eating, listening to MP3 players, using mobile phones or chatting to pool visitors. Aware that their brain functions may be diminished by the effects of dehydration and the exposure to too much sun, they also carry sufficient supplies of drinking water and protect themselves as much as possible against the sun.
In addition to continually scanning the water, pool lifeguards also have to prevent people being injured by slipping, tripping or falling in the areas around the pool. This includes stopping individuals (in particular children and teenagers) from running or wildly ‘messing around’ on wet, slippery surfaces, looking out for potential trip hazards and making sure visitors do not fall off stairs or ladders leading to diving boards. The necessary continual vigilance will tax the lifeguard’s brain tremendously.
Lifeguards switching off
Unfortunately, even experienced lifeguards who take all the necessary precautions to prevent becoming distracted, will find that their effectiveness decreases substantially after approximately 30 minutes. After this, the lifeguard’s brain becomes too tired to make the right connections and may cause them not to react even if they are directly looking at a swimmer in distress. At this point, the lifeguard ‘switches off’ and swimming pool injuries can no longer be effectively prevented.
Preventing swimming pool accidents
To prevent this from happening and ensure no potential pool accident is ‘overlooked’, lifeguards must be allowed to have a proper break of at least five to ten minutes every half hour. Ideally, there should also be a minimum of two guards present at all times. Sadly, some pool owners and operators try to save on expenses by employing just one lifeguard and expecting them to keep alert for hours at a time. The resulting accidents in swimming pools can be devastating.
If you suffered an accidental injury at a swimming pool because a lifeguard ‘switched off’, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Accident Advice Helpline, a law firm specialising in compensation claims for over 15 years, can help you to successfully make your claim.
Date Published: February 13, 2014
Author: David Brown