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Pool safety program wins State award

Pool safety program wins State award
September 25, 2013

Tamworth Regional Council has won a prestigious state award for its development of a program - Pool Super Vision - which improves the safety of swimmers at public pools.

The 2013 Statewide Mutual Risk Management Excellence Award was presented to the Council following the announcement of the win at Statewide Mutual's recent annual conference in Sydney.

Pool Super Vision is based on basic risk management fundamentals and provides cutting edge information explaining the science behind effective swimmer supervision at aquatic facilities for lifeguards which helps to make them safer.

It was initiated through the desire of pool staff from across the Tamworth region to reduce the risk of drowning with the Council's Swimming Pools Technical Officer Gary Johnson spending four years developing the program in collaboration with pool staff.

Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray praised pool staff for creating Pool Super Vision stating "it's rare to receive this level of recognition and it is amazing for a new standard in pool safety to have been created in Tamworth.

"All our pool staff are to be commended."

Johnson said supervising swimmers in a pool is more complicated than it may appear, stating

"the reality is 122 people have drowned in public swimming facilities in Australia over the last two decades - essentially meaning 122 lifeguards weren't able to detect a drowning person soon enough to successfully revive them.

"In the past four years Tamworth Regional Council's pool staff have taken a keen interest in this problem, uncovered some startling information and used it to create the Pool Super Vision training program which is now receiving rave reviews across Australia."

Johnson said Pool Super Vision teaches lifeguards to identify the barriers to effective supervision present at their aquatic facility and helps them to develop strategies for managing them.

Johnson explained "put simply, it provides lifeguards with a risk-based decision making process for determining the best locations to supervise from and which patrons are likely to require the most supervision."

Pool Super Vision is now gaining a reputation across Australia as the latest advancement in public pool safety.

Johnson added "when Council thought there was potential for wider industry exposure the program was initially taken to the Western Australian aquatic industry for evaluation due to their experience in similar industry-based programs.

"This culminated in the entire training program being delivered to 200 delegates at the 44th annual conference of the Leisure Institute Western Australia Aquatics last month.

"Pool Super Vision now forms an important part of their entire industry's drowning prevention strategy."

Tamworth Regional Council has now begun to improve the quality framework behind the program and is investigating distribution models so that other organisations can have access to it.

Johnson concluded "the real business of our work has been to reduce drowning deaths and it will be important to make Pool Super Vision available to the rest of the aquatic industry if we are to achieve this.

"The demand is certainly there ... we have received enquiries from centre managers and peak industry bodies in most states of Australia".

Work has started on tailoring the principles of Pool Super Vision to be used at aquatic environments other than public swimming facilities and by people other than lifeguards.

Statewide Mutual provides insurance cover to the 152 councils in NSW.

For several years it has focused on working with councils to develop and implement better risk management practices, so that communities become safer places to live in and visit.

For more information contact Gary Johnson on 02 6767 5232.


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