The Scoop on Poop

April 11, 2011

(or Is the Water You Swim In, Safe?)

Carrie Tupper
Associate Director, Aquatics
University of Maryland

As the summer season sneaks upon us, many of us will be gearing up to head to the pool to enjoy the clean, clear blue water. Do you really know if the water you are swimming in is clean?

Water can be deceiving. It may look clean when it really is contaminated with germs. These germs may cause Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) which are illnesses caused by breathing, ingesting, or having come in contact with contaminated water. These RWI’s are not only found in swimming pools, they are also found in other bodies of water such as spas, spray parks, lakes and ponds.

Recreational Water Illnesses can present themselves in many different ways, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, and eye, respiratory and wound infections. The most prevalent illness is diarrhea. Germs such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, Shigella and the Norovirus cause diarrheal illness.

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The Lightning Debate

April 11, 2011

The case in support of a lightning policy

Kevin Johnston, M.S.
Graduate Faculty, University of Idaho
Senior Consultant, Professional Aquatic Consultants International

Why is there even a debate? The most conservative perspective is to close both outdoor and indoor pools due to the potential risk. The most liberal perspective: the pool is a safe place based on its design and there hasn’t been a documented ‘in the water’ injury or death in an indoor pool as a result of lightning. Our society has become what Beck calls a ‘Risk Society’. Risk is out there lurking in the shadows but is obscure and abstract: global warming, terrorist attacks and nuclear disasters waiting to happen. Lightning and the indoor pool can be seen in these same terms.

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Developing a ‘Safety Training Grid’

April 07, 2011

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
President, McGregor & Associates

Training employees in various safety protocols is a critical part of any department’s risk management plan. The challenges are numerous:

  • Significant number of part-time student employees
  • High turnover of employees
  • Significant number of training protocols to cover
  • Consistency of training between program units

Some departments adopt a ‘centralized’ approach to safety training i.e. all ‘essential’ training is coordinated centrally, usually through one person or a training committee (with individual program units responsible for any training specific to their program e.g. aquatics ‘in-service’ training). Other departments require each functional unit to be responsible for their own training (which potentially results in inconsistencies within the department unless someone is monitoring or tracking overall training efforts).

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