I was on a poolside today, the oldest operational pool that exists in the UK today I am advised.
It opened in 1888. I wonder did the person who dreamt that crazy idea up ever think then where we would all be now? The public wash house turning into a place of recreational activity!
We sure have come a long way!
Lifeguarding and swimmer safety has moved with the times and advances in qualifications and training techniques, promoted by organisations like the RLSS have surely saved many a life.
The tools of technology have also advanced, particularly in the last few years. The role of the Lifeguard can be helped – “tooled up” so to speak.
“I don’t want my Lifeguards to rely on technology”
Surprisingly enough, in this day and age with all the advances in technology this is a typical response from a thankfully decreasing number of leisure managers.
When I recently attended a meeting to discuss the use of technology to assist lifeguards when performing their duties, this sadly was one of the predictable responses I was up against.
In contrast, my very next meeting, perhaps less than 50 miles away, I am told “Robin – do you see by 2020 – there is not going to be a pool in the country built which doesn’t have some form of Drowning Detection incorporated – seat belts mate – seat belts!”
Early adopters and fast followers do not need convincing of the advantages and benefits of introducing either Drowning Prevention or Drowning Detection Technology – no - it is the “laggards” and the “not in my pool” Managers, Directors, Accountants, Trainer Assessors, CEO’s etc. etc. who need a helping hand.
How do I go about this I wondered? Ask the “believers” I concluded.
Rather than writing a “Sales Pitch” about the benefits of Poolview™, SwimEye™, SenTag, Bluefox or any other technologies, I thought it best to simply ask a few responsible individuals to respond to the title question – I think their words say it all:
“Modern lifeguarding is a skill that is enhanced by the technology available to us that in days gone by was a distant dream for operators. By in-bedding a robust RLSS/NPLQ qualification and training regime, aligned to an underwater camera system the risks associated with managing pools are significantly reduced. The confidence of guaranteeing 100% underwater visibility in all conditions and eradicating the constant challenge of internal and external glare (creating blind spots), is invaluable.
The cost of Poolview is competitive and when integrated into staff training builds a formidable system to combat historical, operational challenges. I would not be without it.“ Steve Goddard - Head of Leisure Services
"Underwater cameras, are not there for Lifeguards to rely on. Lifeguards are still positioned on poolside for immediate response and nothing will replace the senses and trained performance. Poolview assists the lifeguards in opening up a different view on areas which may not be fully visible for several reasons -glare/reflection/surface disturbance from installed features-issues which are not thought of by designers and only become apparent once we as operators enter the building in it's 'completed' phase. Lifeguards are trained to scan for 10 seconds; with Poolview this equates to 5 seconds scanning their zone, 5 seconds on the screen. From experience, good training means lifeguards see it as an extension of their rescue equipment, not a TV. Which means if, on the few occasions they find themselves without it, this is no way affects their ability to deliver effective pool supervision."
“Lifeguards do not 'manage' pools, they assist in the delivery and effective safety management.” Donna Bristoll - Operations Manager - MCIMSPA
“Poolview provides Lifeguards with essential additional vision; it allows them to see beyond the surface of the water and identify hazards from all aspects and angles. Poolview is an great example of how technology can aid a workforce to overcome known problems which for years have been accepted or ignored. However, unlike other technological systems designed to aid drowning prevention Poolview does not undermine or supersede the ‘human’ aspect of Lifeguarding. Poolview alone could not save lives but combined with the trained skills of Lifeguards it is a robust system which undoubtedly enhances water safety.” Helen Meckiffe – Contract Manager
“In an increasingly difficult time with modern build pools surrounded by windows, the positioning of the Lifeguard(s) has become an operational challenge. The Poolview system aids that process and has given us that ability to give our Lifeguards the essential element of Pool supervision; 100% visibility of their allocated zones.” George Lampshire – Safety & Quality Manager
Words of wisdom from some seasoned and very respected leisure individuals. Technology is here to stay – why ignore the opportunity to “make a difference?”