It’s almost pool season (unless you live somewhere that doesn’t have cold winters, in which case, you’re very lucky). Late spring and summer are exciting times of year for residents who live in a development with an inground pool. Shared community pools give residents an opportunity to bask in the sun or get some low-impact exercise without having to leave their building.
Pools are a lot of fun, but they also present a liability for condo associations. Condos have an obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. This obligation extends to common areas, including the swimming pool.Download our free security schedule for pool duty
Most condo pools do not have, or require, dedicated lifeguards. That’s because hiring lifeguards can be cost-prohibitive, especially to smaller communities. Instead, condos create a clear set of rules and regulations that encourage safe use without being discriminatory. Residents are told that they must use the pool at their own risk. As a best practice, condos will have the rules posted by the pool so residents can always refer to them.
Associations that are able to do so may prefer to employ professionals to maintain the swimming pool area and ensure compliance with regulations. This includes having security guards regularly monitor pool-goers and the pool area.
Security guards on pool duty
Security guards have a general set of responsibilities that every client will expect them to take care of. These responsibilities include:
- Protecting people and property
- Preventing illegal/destructive/ inappropriate behaviour from occurring
- Performing regular patrols
- Maintaining security logs
- Resolving security-related issues
- Helping residents/customers
- Keeping supervisors up-to-date on serious issues
- Identifying potential security issues and minimizing future issues
But, a security guard’s job responsibilities will vary from one employer to another. When it comes to condos, clients are usually looking for more from security companies. Hiring a company can be a significant investment for an association, and they want to ensure they’re getting value for their money. Condos may ask the guards on duty to check up on equipment, issue and track visitor parking, manage parcel deliveries and pickups, and even patrol the pool area when it’s open.
Security managers must decide if monitoring pool activity is a responsibility that their team can take on. If the team will be watching the pool regularly, it is highly recommended that all security guards take a CPR course.
To be clear, your guards aren’t being hired to take over the duties that a lifeguard would normally be responsible for. But if something does happen while the guard is monitoring the pool, they will be much better prepared to react to an emergency situation. Since the security guard may be the only person on the pool deck with CPR training, they may actually be able to save a life.
Guards help keep condo pool areas safe
Here are some of the most significant ways that security guards help to keep pool areas safer:
Things can transition from ordinary to dangerous in a blink of an eye when people are submerged in water. Guards offer additional supervision, even in the presence of lifeguards.
Make owners think twice about drinking in the pool area
Almost every pool will have a rule that prohibits residents from bringing glass bottles to the pool. Even a bit of broken glass can be very dangerous as it can easily cut someone’s bare foot. However, this rule may not be enough to stop residents from bringing plastic bottles or cans of alcohol into the pool area.
A cold alcoholic drink on a warm summer day sounds like a simple delight to most, but alcohol and swimming don’t mix well. Alcohol impacts balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects may be heightened by sun exposure and heat.
If the condo has created a rule that explicitly prohibits alcohol from being consumed in the pool area, a security guard will help make sure residents follow that rule.
Help to prevent overcrowding
Due to COVID-19, condos are still taking precautionary measures when it comes to operating shared, non-essential amenities. Some associations have decided that they can safely reopen their pool by limiting the number of residents that can use the pool at one time, introducing time slots to ensure all owners get a fair chance to use the pool, adding extra cleaning hours, reducing hours of operation, and prohibiting guests who don’t live in the building from using the facility. Having an online amenity booking system helps make this process easy and fair, and guards only need to do a headcount instead of being responsible for granting access to the pool.
Guards will likely be expected to conduct patrols in other areas of the building, such as parking lots or other shared amenities like the gym, in addition to watching the pool. This means they can’t always be present to ensure residents respect capacity limits. With an online booking system, it’s much easier to get residents to follow new pool rules and capacity limits, and easier to find out if a resident was using the pool when they shouldn’t have been there. When they are at the pool post, guards help to deter overcrowding, and can report overcrowding issues to management right away.
Tips for working by the pool
Getting to spend a bit of time outdoors is a nice change, but your guards are still at work. To help them perform at their best, feel free to share some of these tips with your team:
- Come prepared for the heat. Your guards must still wear their uniforms, but if short-sleeved shirts and hats with visors are available, make sure they know they have the option to dress for the warmer weather
- Purchase footwear that will support you all day long. Guards are on their feet for hours at a time, and they might be standing still longer than usual if they’re on pool duty. Investing in good footwear is essential so that they don’t develop back or foot issues
- Stay hydrated. Guards are more physically active than some employees. They should have quick and regular access to water to ensure they don’t get dehydrated
- Know what to do in case of a pool emergency. Here’s where that CPR course can come in handy. Guards should also be familiar with where emergency exits, fire alarms, first aid items, etc. are located in the pool area
- This is not the time to lounge. It can be tempting to take a seat or socialize with residents when you’re poolside. But guards must remain alert. It’s okay to exchange pleasantries with residents, but don’t forget that you’ve got an important job to do
If you work for a client that has a shared pool, there is a good chance that they will ask your guards to monitor the pool area. Your guards will not be expected to perform the duties that a lifeguard would be responsible for. Rather they will be asked to help ensure residents are following the rules and using the pool in a safe and respectful manner. They will help to prevent unwanted or destructive behaviour, make sure capacity limits are maintained, and allow all residents to enjoy their time at the pool.