Safety is the No. 1 priority at the Hannibal Aquatic Center.
Director Jenna McDonald said all staff members are extensively trained to make sure all patrons stay safe during their visit. The pool opens June 3.
Before the pool opens, the lifeguards must undergo rigorous training and complete written and water tests to obtain the American Red Cross Lifeguard certification which includes lifeguarding skills, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automated external defibrillator and first aid implementation.
During the season, they must undergo in-service trainings, which include endurance and skills testing. The Aquatic Center is audited through the American Red Cross aquatic examiners service at least twice a pool season, which increases lifeguard accountability and attention to safety.
The Aquatic Center follows the Red Cross policy of lifeguards who work on a continuous rotating surveillance duty.
This year, the front desk/concession staff members will also man the slides at the pool so those employees also received professional rescuer, first aid, CPR and AED training.
McDonald urges anyone coming to the pool to listen to the lifeguards on duty but refrain from distracting the lifeguards monitoring the water. “Lifeguards are specially trained to keep people safe in and around water and save lives if needed but patrons need to be aware of their surroundings and diligent for their own safety.”
She has several tips for anyone attending the pool:
• Never leave a child unattended in or near water, even if they can swim or is wearing a personal floatation device.
• Sign your children up for swim lessons. Even toddlers can be taught basic maneuvers like rolling over and floating on their backs.
• Walk! Injuries happen often because people are running on the pool deck.
• Never dive head first into water that is less than five feet deep or that you can’t see through. Head and neck injuries are serious and can leave you handicapped for life.
• Apply a water resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every two hours and after swimming or sweating and toweling off.
• If you have an open wound, cover it with a waterproof dressing or stay out of the water. Having an open wound puts you at greater risk of getting an infection and puts others at risk of getting an infection from you.