This week’s drill covers swimming accidents in pools where lifeguards are on duty. The objective of the drill is to practice the techniques for removing a diving accident victim from a swimming pool. Setting up the drill requires coordinating the logistics with a pool manager and your response with that of the pool’s lifeguards. Materials required include a backboard, immobilization materials, a change of clothes for members entering the pool (warn them ahead of time to wear old shoes that can be worn in the pool), and a pool lifeguard to act as a victim.
If the drill is to take place during regular operating hours, ensure that the manager announces to patrons that there will be a diving accident drill and that the patrons will clear the pool area when the drill starts. You should also have an outline of points to make to pool patrons as the fire department spokesperson. Howard A. Chatterton includes a sample outline in his book, Volunteer Training Drills-A Year Of Weekly Drills. Make sure firefighters involved understand that this is a coordinated response and is not a race between the lifeguards and the fire department.
To start the drill, stage a responding ambulance and engine company a short distance from the pool location and an officer with a portable radio at the pool. When the pool is clear, a lifeguard dives into the pool to simulate the victim. The pool’s lifeguards respond. After a 30-second delay, the officer has the ambulance and engine company respond.
By the time department units arrive, the lifeguards will have reached the victim. The purpose of responding units is to assist in getting the victim secured and fully immobilized on a backboard. Members will conduct a survey and prepare for transport.
After the drill, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what to do differently the next time.
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