To effectively manage any risk, layers of protection are the name of the game. The chances of an event breaching a layer of protection might be fair but breaching successive layers at the same moment becomes exponentially more difficult.
For drowning prevention at public facilities lifeguards are often the last line of defence. On a bad day, they can find themselves being the only thing standing between life and death.
Once lifeguards start CPR the outcome becomes very uncertain. It is one of those fork in the road moments when you’re never sure which way things will go. Will we be in a Coroner’s Court or in the staff room celebrating with a morning tea?
Celebrate every win… the ones that didn’t get away.
Make sure everyone knows that every time they make a save, it’s the bosses shout for cake and coffee. There should be plenty of back slapping too, regardless of how modest the lifeguard or lifeguards are. Regardless of who saw the casualty first; lifeguard or bystander. A person is walking the street today because of great performance under extreme conditions.
Get the local media involved. The effect on team morale to be in the local paper shouldn’t be under estimated. You’ll get some good PR out of it and you’ll put a good news story among all the doom and gloom of the day. There is also research that suggests aquatic patrons behave safer if the potential dangers are occasionally brought to their attention.
If you have a good day celebrate and get the message out there. God knows the media will report our bad days.
There are plenty of good news stories out there. Congratulations to the centres and lifeguards below.
I know there are more. If you know of one, please post it in the comments section below.