Current Newsletter


April 2017 | Volume 11 Issue 4.2


Complacency & Selective Attention. Complacency in the pool can be a dangerous situation for both directors and lifeguards alike. While aquatic directors need to train guards on complacency and how it can have devastating effects on patron safety, it is also important to be aware that being in the same field for a long-time can potentially lend itself to complacency too. Seasoned directors sometimes tend to take for granted many of the things that, in the early stages of their careers, seemed more important. This can be a positive and a negative thing. For instance, seasoned directors most likely don’t stress about having confrontational conversations with unruly members as they likely did as young directors. That’s a positive thing. Conversely, a negative when they stop using “fresh eyes” to see potential safety hazards. After they’ve looked at the same pool, pool deck, filter room, etc., for many years, it’s very easy to miss things. An example of this is The Invisible Gorilla experiment by Simons and Chabris, where a group of students are passing a ball around in a circle and the viewer is asked to count the number of times the students in white shirts touch the ball. Ultimately, the viewer becomes so engrossed in counting, that they completely miss the 6-foot gorilla that walks through the center of the circle, turns to the camera, pounds his chest and leaves. This is known as selective attention. When this occurs, directors may see the drain covers, but miss the fact that one is cracked. They may see that the inground pool lights are on, but miss the fact that one is out and needs to be replaced. You can combat complacency and selective attention by encouraging directors to actively look at their facility with “fresh eyes” and asking other directors or colleagues to help with safety and facility inspections. Useful tools include use of an aquatic safety checklist, facility checklist, and hourly guard observation reports. Remember, if seasoned directors can get complacent, then there’s a good chance that your lifeguards might too. Train your entire staff on selective attention and how it can have devastating effects on the safety of all your programs.


New Aquatic Management Program. The American Red Cross (ARC) and aquatic engineering and design firm Counsilman-Hunsaker are teaming up to provide a new Aquatic Management Program. The new Aquatic Management Program will employ a team of aquatic operations specialists to design and implement comprehensive operational strategies and management solutions for new and existing facilities of all types and sizes to improve safety, efficiency and sustainability. Click HERE to learn more about this new Aquatic Management Program.


Save the date! The 2017 Risk Summit will take place this September 17 – 19, 2017 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. This conference is ideal for nonprofit leaders who want to broaden their perspective on risk, learn practical strategies for identifying and managing risk, and bring risk resources and know-how back to their mission-driven organizations. If you’re interested in positioning the risk management function to truly fortify your mission and navigate around or through the “what ifs” of the nonprofit world, you won’t want to miss this event. Read more HERE.


Nationwide Safe + Sound Week; June 12 – 18, 2017. The Occupational Safety & Health Association (OSHA), the National Safety Council (NSC), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) a have announced June 12-18 as Safe + Sound Week. The event is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the value of workplace safety and health programs. These programs can help employers and workers identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving the bottom line. Throughout this week, organizations are encouraged to host events and activities that showcase the core elements of an effective safety and health program–management leadership, worker participation, and finding and fixing workplace hazards. Visit the Safe + Sound Week webpage to sign-up for email updates on the event.


Blog: Click HERE for the latest blog focusing on defining “Youth” as a numerical age?


Did you see this in the last E-news?


Tick season is coming. Normal tick season lasts from mid-April through September in parts of the US. Ticks may be active all year in some regions with warmer weather and unfortunately, some tick species, including deer ticks that carry Lyme disease, can remain active throughout the year even in cooler climates, especially if the temperatures don’t drop below freezing. Tick-borne pathogens can be passed to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the US include: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness and Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector borne illness in the US per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ticks usually must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before an illness such as Lyme disease can be transmitted. Outdoor workers are at risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases if they work at sites with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter. Outdoor workers in most regions of the US should be extra careful to protect themselves in the spring, summer, and fall when ticks are most active. The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your risk of being bitten by an infected tick. Read more HERE for prevention information. Other resources include this curriculum for educating youth and handouts such as these.


Youth Restroom Policy. As part of a comprehensive Youth Protection Policy, your organization should have a written Youth Restroom Policy.  This policy should be adhered to inside and out of your facility, by all youth programs, not just your licensed Preschool and After-school programs. Policies and practices on restroom supervision are based on the risks involved with conducting programs and services. These risks include the age of the children, the location of facilities, the location of the restrooms and staffing ratios. Children should never be allowed to enter a restroom alone regardless of location. As many as 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children. The “rule of three” should always be followed, two children and an adult or two adults and one child.  Click HERE for a sample Youth Restroom Policy.

More resources are available in the Online Resource Library.

Note: Printable copies of each article are available in Adobe PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.