What is the recommended ratio for lifeguard to swimmer?

Asked by Caitlin 5 years ago standard ratio standards staff number of Lifeguards

American Lifeguard Association®
This a very difficult question to answer, for so many factors must be factored in with each different location, such as the size of the facility, whether it is a beach, lake, waterpark, or swimming pool. The age group and skill level of the swimmers, and also having the necessary number of responsible adults watching the children, for a drowning can happen in a matter of seconds.

In general, the American Lifeguard Association recommends at least two lifeguards on duty at all times, and the reason is that it requires at least two, to properly care for a suspected spinal injury in the water. This is not normally required by codes, but has been a national standard for over 20 years. Lifeguards are taught that a minimum of two

Lifeguards need to be able to conduct a proper back boarding in regard to a suspected spinal injury, and not having a minimum of two Lifeguards, the facility is operating at a substandard level. With this said, the American Lifeguard Association cannot tell af fability they need a minimum of two Lifeguards on duty at all times, for we do not make the laws or establish the codes, but what we can do is help establish guidelines. It is our understanding that the American Red Cross also recommends a minimum of two Lifeguards at all time.

Once the facility reaches a capacity of 50 swimmers, we feel a Lifeguard should be added for every additional 25 patrons, as a minimum standard. Furthermore, if it is swimming pool, every Lifeguard chair should be occupied whenever the facility is open, and there should be an established rotation with the guards on duty to help minimize any fatigue.

Beaches are different from swimming pool facilities, and it is our opinion that each location needs to be looked at individually as to its needs. We do feel that each Lifeguard chair or station at the beach should be occupied by at least two Lifeguards at all times to help properly facility a rescue.

We want to also remind everyone that an emergency action plan (EAP) needs to be in place and regularly practiced by the entire staff. When an emergency arises the EAP needs be enacted and not only does the EAP need to take into account what to with the victim, but the safety surveillance of the facility needs to be maintained.

by American Lifegu...  5 years ago



American Lifeguard Association
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