No Lifeguard on Duty!

Today we had the opportunity to read a about a local mom’s horror story based on a Yelp review that was posted in October 2019.

Here is the experience with commentary:

Prior to a Girl Scout pool party, a local mom had booked a lifeguard with a small company that we are most definitely aware of and promised the lifeguard with no problem whatsoever. Everything was set which meant that with the lifeguard out of the way she could plan for the party.

On the day of the pool party the lifeguard showed up on time as he was scheduled to do so. When he arrived, the host informed him that the party should be very easy as the girls are older and well behaved. His response was that should be fine but also made a point to mention that he had a “crazy late night” and had his phone with him for entertainment. At that point she stated that she should have refused him right then and there. She also stated that if she were to call the company, no one would show up until the end of the party or no one would show up at all.

Because this was a sanctioned Girl Scout pool party, the bylaws state that a certified lifeguard must be on the deck at any pool party.

As the party was underway and with the host busy setting up, greeting arrivals, etc, she looked out towards the pool and noticed the lifeguard sitting away from the pool on the yard under a patio. At this point she knew that this was unacceptable and then she noticed the lifeguard get up, proceed to walk away from his chair towards the house where he went to use the restroom without informing the girls or the host he was stepping away from the pool. When he returned she watched him sit back down, grab his phone and he started scrolling with eyes on the phone. It was clear that he was not watching the pool. Seeing this and clearly upset by this, she approached him and told to put his phone away which he did however when she walked away she noticed that he was distracted by other activities not in the pool.

Keep in mind that all of this occurred within a span of thirty minutes from arrival.

The party host was a bit furious as the Girl Scout bylaws say a lifeguard must be present however it ended up that the parents watched the girls the entire time while the lifeguard sat in his chair zooming out. If she could have, she would have sent that lifeguard packing!

The experience that this pool party host had to endure was not an isolated experience and this type of thing happens frequently.

What this lifeguard did was unprofessional to say the least. The following are points in the review that stood out to us here:

– The lifeguard should always be on the deck at all times while swimmers especially kids are in the pool. The biggest red flag is that the first thing he did was to sit in a chair away from the pool. When sitting down in a chair it creates a situation where the lifeguard can’t monitor the bottom of the pool. What if a child had slipped underneath the water line and the lifeguard did not see that? That could have been a tragedy!

Our lifeguards are trained and instructed to never sit down! They are to walk or pace the deck constantly and to interact with the swimmers. This allows our staff to monitor the surface and the bottom at all times especially if there are blind spots.

– One of the biggest things they teach new lifeguards is to leave that cell phone and put it away. That lifeguard exhibited dangerous behavior that has cost the lives of others in well documented drownings. That cell phone is a major distraction and should have never come out at all. The party was within her right to ask that lifeguard to put that cell phone away.

Our staff know that cell phones must be kept in their bags or trauma bags only to be used in case of an emergency such as calling 911 or if working the beach to call Los Angeles County Lifeguards dispatch for assistance. Otherwise if one of our captains see anyone using a cell phone than for emergency purposes will be met with consequences.

– The last thing was the fact that this lifeguard left his watch without notifying anyone where he was going. What would have happened if a child started drowning and he was nowhere to be found? That’s right, it could have been a non-fatal or fatal drowning depending on the severity.

Our lifeguards have been instructed that if they need to use the restroom that they are to notify the party host so arrangements can be made to have an adult watch the pool for the few minutes they are in the restroom but that does not happen often. Often the party host will ask our lifeguards if they want food however we always ask to have a plate brought to us so we can eat while standing never leaving the deck.

If you are planning a pool party and you happen to hire a lifeguard who exhibits this type of behavior, you should immediately release them and have adults monitor the pool. You may also call our offices to see if we have an available lifeguard who can rush right over.

We can be reached at 747-444-1035 or bookings@goldenstatelifeguards.com

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