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The City of Kerrville lifeguards were recognized at the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 for receiving top honors during their Unannounced Observational Audit.
Among the staff recognized at the meeting were Marissa Waldon, Assistant Pool Manager; Ben Ledesma, Rosa Ledesma, Melissa Blanchard and Luis Ramirez, Lifeguards. The remainder of the staff including Pool Manager Destini Leija, Assistant Manager Tyler Thompson and Lifeguards Travis Barnes-Johnson, Kristen Gonzales, Gus Arbogast, Alex Moos, Jesse Griffiths, Gabe Schlechte and Ryan Stephens were on duty and unable to attend the council meeting. The City of Kerrville has utilized the Jeff Ellis and Associates Aquatics Risk Management Program since 2009, which includes the training system for all lifeguards and on-site staff at the Olympic Pool. Jeff Ellis and Associates, a nationally recognized water safety training organization out of Florida, conducts two unannounced operational safety audits during the summer at the Olympic Pool to assist pool operations in evaluating their aquatic safety procedures and to ensure that the highest safety standards are being provided. The audit process is a detail oriented evaluation of staff, records, equipment, and implementation of techniques. The audit includes the use of hidden video surveillance with observation of each of the lifeguards on the stands. The auditors then announce themselves and test the rescue skills of the individual lifeguards and the entire team after the facility has closed for the day. Site inspection of signage and printed safety standards, licenses for the guards, and review of safety and rescue equipment is also conducted. An audit report is then prepared for management with corrective measures identified. The Aquatics Division of the Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department received an Unannounced Observational Audit by Jeff Ellis & Associates on Sunday, June 5, 2011 at the Olympic Pool. Staff were evaluated on their lifeguard rescue skills and management including documentation, equipment, on-stand performance with patron surveillance, professionalism, attentiveness, vigilance, and rescue skills including individual rescues and handling of a team spinal injury management scenario. The Supervisor was evaluated on overall proactive management of staff and the facility. The Olympic Pool staff, which consists of 16 seasonal personnel, received an overall score of “Exceeds” which is the highest score attainable. The lifeguards go through a rigorous 23 hour training course in which they learn how to properly recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies. Included in the training is CPR with AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and emergency oxygen, first aid, spinal injury management and much more. But once they have completed the training class, it’s not over! A minimum of 4 hours of in-service must be completed per month per lifeguard to keep them fresh on their skills in addition to the required amount of manikin and live guest drills to test the lifeguard’s vigilance during operating hours.“Gone are the days when lifeguards just sit in the stand to get a tan. There is so much more to lifeguarding now,” stated Ashlea Boyle, Parks and Recreation Manager, “this is a very dedicated team of individuals. I am extremely proud of not only receiving such an outstanding score on their audit, but in their overall job performance. The lifeguards have a large amount of responsibility on their shoulders and they deserve to be recognized for a job well done.”For more information, please call the Parks & Recreation Department at (830) 257-7300 or visit our website at www.kerrvilletx.gov.