It's 7:30 pm Saturday Night- Where are the Lifeguards? Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

Why Is Anyone In the Pool?

It's 7:30 pm Saturday Night- Where are the Lifeguards?

5 September 2010 at 10:25:39 AM

closer up

How about the other side?

I'm reminded of this, which sounded an awful lot  like someone on city council.

The current problem at Oakdale is that it is in need of a manger and that there are NO LIFEGUARDS, they all are off to school are decided not to work anymore!

So close the pool. It's not as if Oakdale is inspected and has a certificate of occupancy. Hello!

More lifeguards COULD be hired, if the OK was given for it. but instead of emphasis being put on finding a manger and lifeguards, Moose's head is on the chopping block and all of the macabre gossipers that helped to make it happen are waiting to get splattered. 

(In case you don't know who Moose is, that's the city supervisor in charge of streets and PARKS that lied on his job application about a conviction and also pled guilty to indecent exposure.. and still has his job.)

UPDATE: Today, Sunday, September 5, 2010, Labor Day weekend, the pool is closed and gate LOCKED. As it should be since there is NO LIFEGUARD. Picture taken at 4:30 pm

2nd Update: The sign for office hours clearly shows that on Saturdays the office is open till 8, which means that a manager (or somebody) was there on Saturday while people were swimming in the pool.

Update #3. One anonymous poster, whose comments were not posted due to comment rule violations, suggested that the lifeguard is actually the person wearing a white t-shirt and red shorts who is sitting down by the pool, not in the lifeguard chair, turned away from all the other people who are swimming. (click on the first picture up top to see all the children in the pool, including this one at the right edge.)

Supposing that might be true, several questions. The reason a lifeguard sits in a lifeguard chair is not only to have a view of things at the same level as when sitting down but to see into the pool, to the bottom of the pool in case someone is having trouble and is underwater. Think if that is the lifeguard at the edge of the pool that he or she can see all the others he or she is not facing, including underwater? Any of the people standing at the top of the pool are not in a good position to monitor the swimmers. Why would Oakdale even bother to have three perches if it wasn't assumed that the lifeguard would be sitting in one of them?

Every pool I have ever been to, except private pools in someone's back yard, has always had a lifeguard sitting in an elevated position, with a whistle and lifesaving equipment at the ready, in otherwords, vigilant to have the best view. I got to wondering if maybe that's not a standard for pools where the public attends.

Here's Club Royal in Dallas's standards.

Sits in lifeguard chairs, with the rescue tube in their lap, with whistle in their hand or around their neck at all times when they are responsible for the pool.

Galveston County Health District

(b) Lifeguard Stands

Swimming pools operated primarily for unorganized use and having more than 2,250 square feet of water surface area shall be provided with an elevated lifeguard platform or chair. In pools with 4,000 square feet or more of water surface area additional elevated chairs or stations shall be provided and located so as to provide a clear unobstructed view of the pool bottom in the area under surveillance.

La Porte

(c) Any swimming pool operated primarily for unorganized use and having an area of more than
two thousand (2,000) square feet of water surface area shall be provided with an elevated lifeguard
platform or chair. Such lifeguard platforms or chairs shall be placed in locations which eliminate sun glare on the
water and in positions which will allow complete visual coverage of the pool and the pool bottom within a field
of view no greater than forty-five degrees (45ø) on either side of a line of sight extending straight out from the
chair. In pools with four thousand (4,000) square feet or more of water surface area, additional elevated lifeguard
platforms or chairs shall be provided and located to provide a clear, unobstructed view of the pool bottom in the area under

From Fairfax, VA, where some voters considered it so important to have no distractions for the lifeguards that they put it on the ballot to ban casual conversations while the lifeguard is in the chair.

This fall, Fairfax County voters will decide in a referendum whether to adopt tougher rules, such as increasing the number of lifeguards at each of the 580 public and semipublic pools from one to two. The county also would prohibit lifeguards from listening to loud music, performing pool chores or engaging in casual conversation while in the lifeguard chair.

IF Oakdale didn't already have not one, but THREE lifeguard elevated chairs, it might be different, but there is an assumption, by the mere fact that the chairs are installed, that lifeguards are going to be ON DUTY IN THE CHAIR and not sitting relaxed by the side of the pool. Anyone who is even a casual observer of the pool should be able to immediately see a lifeguard on duty in the chair and not have to guess or verify if there's even a lifeguard there. Further, if that lifeguard has to leave his or her perch for any reason other than an emergency, there ought to be someone else taking his or her place or every one needs to get out of the pool.

Saying that if it's true that there actually was a lifeguard there at the pool, is that really acceptable to have him or her NOT be seriously sitting in the elevated chair? It only takes a very short time for someone to drown, and that, to me, is the point of having someone not only identified as the lifeguard but stationed in the elevated chair, and certainly not facing away from the pool but watching the swimmers, including children.

P.S. Saying it's hot sitting on a lifeguard chair is not an excuse for not being on duty. If a person doesn't want to be watchful from a chair, don't be a lifeguard. Or complain directly to the city about the heat and ask for umbrellas or other cooling mechanisms.

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1 - Anom   5 Sep 2010 @ 1:56:44 PM 

Could you do an open records request and see how much money was collected at the pool on Sat?  With no manager on duty and no lifeguards around, is it possible these people just jumped the fence, opened the place and had a free swim?

2 - salon   5 Sep 2010 @ 2:11:53 PM 

Good question. When we drove through there were a lot of RVs and tents set up, although the park was not full. I would assume that someone collected money and assigned spots for these people to park in. I further assume that the people swimming were ones that are staying in the spots as opposed to people simply jumping the fence and deciding to swim.  We drove through the park and I have some additional pics that I did not post that show all the tents, cabins and RVs that people are staying in.

The thing is, as you know if you've been reading this saga, there have been at least a few times that the pool has been closed BECAUSE there has been no lifeguard, causing some parents to be disappointed because of no match to the posted hours Oakdale Park is open. However, good for them. I heard informally that there is some kind of metric for how many lifeguards you need to have per X amount of people. There was not ONE lifeguard stationed there last night and it appears to me that city council knows this and is willing to roll some dice.

Now, the second question is how anybody really knows how much money is collected if it's not taken in checks. And I'm not sure it's even a meaningful question to ask about why there isn't a manager there. City Council KNOWS there is not a manager hired, they made ZERO provision to have one there to help out the staff at Oakdale after Cindy King was fired, except possibly, Dwain Whitfield doing double duty until all that stuff came out about him. I didn't look at the snack bar or office, maybe someone was there, but if there was, it wasn't someone with enough sense to close the pool.

Further, because I really am Po'd about this, why isn't the city attorney giving good advice about what should be happening? Shouldn't he be advising them about their liabilities and exposure in all this, including not only the risks of having NO LIFEGUARD on duty when there are paying guests staying in a place with NO certificate of occupancy, and a supervisor who hangs out in Oakdale Park that pled guilty to indecent exposure?

Have to add to this that when hub took the pictures, he did NOT *jump the fence* to do it but walked in through an open gate. Let's just say for a minute that these people were not part of the large crowd of visitors that were staying there (and I'll bet if you look today, since this is a holiday weekend, you'll still see a lot), but decided to swim with no manager around. They would have had NO trouble getting into the pool since the entrances were not closed. I don't think at all that that is the case. Were it me and I were staying there and the gate was open with access to the pool, and I wanted to swim, I'd go right in and consider that was part of what I was paying for. I *might* wonder why there was no lifeguard in the chair though. It's not like this is a private pool in a backyard.

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3 - humanbeing   5 Sep 2010 @ 5:04:18 PM 

Paying customers for the pool are banded with bracelet that is good for the day.

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4 - salon   5 Sep 2010 @ 6:45:19 PM 

@HB-that may be but it's sort of irrelevant whether they are paying customers or not if there's no lifeguard  for the pool. Let's say 3 different scenarios.

1. These are not paying customers and they snuck in. How'd they sneak in? Didn't jump the fence because the entrances were open. Means that there was no manager to check whether people in pool were *legal* or not. And the City of Glen Rose would be just as liable for problems either way. I mean, if someone drowned that came in because the gates were open and there was no manager there to tell them to leave...

2. These were people who rented out the pool. IF that were the case, again, where's the lifeguard? The city should be providing one, and having some kind of payment due from the renters that they would be paying extra for the lifeguard. But NO ONE should be renting out the pool and swimming in it without a city supplied lifeguard.

3. These were paying customers and/or people who were in the park camping. You saw there was a little girl jumping off the diving board and NO lifeguard in sight at any of the stations. If they were paying customers, they had a right to expect that the City would be supplying a lifeguard and the city should have supplied one to preserve their own interests.

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5 - humanbeing   5 Sep 2010 @ 8:07:48 PM 

I was merely commenting on how the staff identifies their legitimate customers at the pool.

The problem of not having a lifeguard speaks for itself.

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6 - salon   5 Sep 2010 @ 8:30:06 PM 

@Hb-didn't mean to take out my annoyance on you. :)

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7 - humanbeing   5 Sep 2010 @ 9:50:04 PM 

No offense taken, salon, but I do question your assumption no lifeguard was on duty. They're not always on their perches above the pool. This notwithstanding, people need to know what's going on with Oakdale. What about those that bought season passes this year? One doesn't know if the pool will be open or not anymore. This is no way to run a business, I think we all agree.

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8 - salon   5 Sep 2010 @ 10:37:39 PM 

An assumption based on some pretty substantial background. In pools that I have been at in the past, a lifeguard pretty consistently sat on his or her perch because he/she needed to be able to see into the pool as well as around it. Otherwise, why have the perches? One of the commenters on the site said that one day recently when she went to the pool, presumably before the lifeguards quit, they were hanging around the snack bar laughing and talking-who was watching the swimmers? I just don't agree that it's a good idea for lifeguards not to be clearly visible, recognizable and themselves have the catbird seat for safety.

I agree with you about the season passes. It's a good question.

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9 - agree   13 Sep 2010 @ 11:27:30 AM 

I have to say I agree with Salon.  I'm not comfortable with my children there (or with anyone being there since it's not always a child that needs rescuing) with a life guard that's only halfway doing their job.  To me, having someone sitting at the edge of the pool, talking, just like everyone else there, isn't good enough.  In that case, the only difference between the lifegaurd and someone else is that the lifeguard may be a better swimmer.  There's a lot more to being a lifeguard than that. 

A lifegurad's focus needs to be on the water, not chatting, not walking to the snack bar, not doing anything other than scanning the water.  And you truly can't do an adequate job scanning the water when you're sitting (or I would argue even standing) at the edge of a pool this size.  You have to be elevated to see the entire pool, including someone who may be underwater not near where you are.

If the city, out of human descency, morals, values, doesn't care about what happens to the people visiting the park, the city should at least care about the lawsuit that will come against the city if a tragedy occurs.  If someone drowns, is electricuted at an RV site or is otherwise hurt in their park that might not have passed inspection yet, the city will very justly be held accountable for its negligence.

City, will you please stop this negligence, do what you're supposed to do, before something terrible happens?


10 - salon   26 Jun 2011 @ 9:11:42 PM 

June 26 2011-Apparently this is still going on, that the lifeguards do NOT sit in the lifeguard chairs on duty. A concerned mother asked why the lifeguard (singular) was sitting BY the diving board talking to her pal who was to the side instead of sitting IN THE CHAIR and got the answer that it was too hot to sit in the chair. Okay, it's really hot. WHY DOESN"T OAKDALE BUY SUN UMBRELLAS FOR THE CHAIRS AND MAKE THEM LIFEGUARDS SIT IN THEM.... ON DUTY????? 

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