Lifeguards have to know how to use lifesaving equipment, crowd control, speaking with respect to parents, and teaching children correct water etiquette, but that is not all, lifeguards are also responsible for public health safety as it relates to water contamination, in the pool and at the ocean.
Contamination can lay unseen by the naked eye in any pool of water in the world. Lifeguards have the extremely important job of constantly being aware of contamination threats and monitoring chemicals levels in the pool. Pools that are heavily used not only have a large number of bodies to watch, but also have a greater threat of contamination.
Lifeguards are always looking for and trying to prevent accidents that would cause contamination in the water. However, blood borne pathogens, infections, and viruses are constantly being introduced into pool water. Germ contamination is spread in pools many ways. The good thing is pathogens do not survive long when introduced to properly chlorinated pool water. The problems arise when lifeguards don’t have time to test the water for chemical imbalances, or when they are unable to clean all the containments out of the water when accidents happen.
When contaminations occur, lifeguards need to respond quickly and adequately to disinfect the pool. The chlorine level combinations needed to kill viruses and waterborne diseases like Giardia are to be checked immediately. Properly chlorinated pool water will kill germs found in blood and feces. Some say there is no public health reason for closing the pool after a blood spill, however some pools choose to do so temporarily to satisfy their patrons.
Germs can be spread by swallowing the pool water as people open their mouths in the contaminated water, or through open wounds on their skin. Germs from contamination can cause diarrhea, illnesses and skin rashes. Properly controlled water minimizes these threats.
There are multiple ways to get sick while at the ocean. One way isn’t even linked to swimming, it is caused by a 5-gallon bucket. Beach lifeguards around the world use 5-gallon buckets to neutralize toxin after a victim has been stung by a sting ray. The hot water poured into these buckets significantly reduces the pain and swelling caused by a stingray sting. These buckets are called “Dirty Buckets” because many times the on-staff lifeguards fail to properly clean and disinfect these buckets due to the other high demands of the job. There have been many public health lawsuits filed in the past against lifeguard agencies for improperly sterilizing “dirty buckets.
The chance of blood borne pathogens spreading from victim to victim via these buckets is extremely high. Original Watermen is the only lifeguard supply house that sells an alternative to the dirty buckets used by lifeguards. These 100% self-contained portable heating systems are called Ray-Rx Stingray Kits and should be at every lifeguard tower, in every mothers beach bag, and in every true watermen’s emergency bag. Sting Ray-RX one time use bags are made with military technology and heat the water in minutes. This prevents contamination from spreading from one victim to the next. The one time use bag eliminates municipality liability from contamination due to dirty buckets.
Original Watermen has done extensive research on the contamination spread in pools and from “dirty buckets”. We constantly educate parents, municipalities and lifeguards on the need for ending the spread of disease and blood borne pathogens via recreational water activities.