Thursday, July 16, 2015

Research Q of the Week: Water Fun and Lifeguards (7/16/15)

Question: It is definitely swimming season. What should cities know about lifeguards?

One of the best things about Minnesota in the summer is swimming--whether in a pool or in a lake. Lifeguards are a crucial part of safety when it comes to water fun.

So here are the rules for lifeguards: Beach lifeguards employed by a city must be 16 years old or older. Pool lifeguards employed by a city need to be at least 15 years old. In addition, lifeguards who are younger than 18 must be continually supervised by an adult who is 18 years of age or older.

Lifeguards must be certified in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and have a Red Cross lifeguard certification or an equivalent. Continual safety training must be provided to lifeguards on recognition of responsibilities, accident prevention, and dealing with emergencies.

It is essential that a policy and procedure manual be developed which outlines lifeguard duties and facility policies. This will help to eliminate confusion and create standard operating procedures for emergency situations. Additional training should be provided for items such as filling out pool inspection reports, accident and incident reports, etc.

Remember that when it's time to dive into summer, a well-prepared and trained lifeguard can give you and residents peace of mind.

For more information, see the League’s Park and Recreation Loss Control Guide.

Written by Irene Kao, research attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: or (651) 281-1224

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.

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