Emergency Action Plan for a Juvenile Detention Facility pool

Swimming Pool Procedures for a juvenile detention facility.

“There is the need for standardization of procedures to avoid confusion and possible delays in the event of an emergency. Standard facility procedures for accidents, disruptive behavior, missing persons, etc. will be followed and in addition some other procedures need to be in place at the pool.

All staff need to be familiar with these procedures.

Glossary Terms:

Water Safety Staff (WSS): Those staff trained to enter the water to effect a rescue. WSS staff have complete discretion as to which wards are allowed in the pool.

Deck Safety Staff (DSS): Those staff trained to effect a rescue from the deck (without entering the water).

Shepherd’s Crook: Metal hook on a long pole for effecting a rescue from the deck.

Rescue Tube: Red flotation device with a rope and nylon strap to effect a rescue from the deck or from in the water.

Spine Board (a.k.a backboard): The device used in the water to effect the rescue of an unconscious non-spinal injury victim. (See notes below about removal of a spinal injury victim.)

Safety Line: There is black tile line across the width of the pool with a floating line above it (safety line a.k.a. lifeline) capable of supporting someone who grabs it, separating the shallow from the deep end.

There will be a safety line in place dividing shallow from deep except during races.

Swimmer: A ward who has satisfactorily swum across the width of the pool.

Non-swimmer: A ward who has not satisfactorily swum across the width of the pool. Non-swimmers are not allowed in the deep end, or in the pool when the safety line is removed for races. Some WSS staff may decide that they are not allowed in the pool at all.

Safety zone: that zone reserved for staff around the pool. It is designated by a line 6 feet from the edge of the pool. This will provide staff an adequate area within the circumference of the pool to effect a rescue. No obstruction (i.e., table, sunbather, etc.) is to be within the 6-foot safety zone as this could hamper the effectiveness of a rescue if needed.


I. There will be at least two staff on each occasion at the pool and one of those must be WSS trained, preferably within one year of working as a WSS

WSS staff has complete discretion as to which wards are allowed in the pool. Maximum 12 wards at a time. Wards with incident reports within a week will not be allowed in the pool.

II. When a group is at the pool there are some items of safety/rescue equipment that should always be present. They are:

1. The first aid box

2. The shepherd’s crook

(the preferred equipment for active victim and passive victim (non-spinal injury) rescues so the W.S.S. do not need to risk entering the pool).

3. The spine board (a.k.a backboard).

As per the instructions of EMS staff who visited the pool and met with ranch WSS staff, a spinal injury will be stabilized with the face out of the water and airway open using a modified jaw thrust. Backboarding (placing a spinal injury victim on a spine board) and removal from the pool of a person with a suspected spinal injury will be done by arriving EMS (fire/EMT) staff, not ranch staff, UNLESS the victim does not have a pulse and must be removed as carefully as possible as quickly as possible to be able to use an AED.

(The paramedics’ board can be x-rayed through and they have more training.)

4. Emergency blanket for shock

5. Rescue tube and whistle

6. A lane line in place dividing shallow from deep except during races

7. Radio(s) or functioning phone. Staff should verify that an outside line can be reached on the phone – check by dialing ‘9.’

The shepherd’s crook, spine board and first aid box should be placed so they are in plain view from any point in or around the pool.

Each WSS should have a whistle ready for use to notify the DSS (who might not see an emergency unfolding), that the WSS staff are entering the pool. The rescue tube should be on the person of the W.S.S. in a position they were trained in, ready for immediate entry into the pool.

Whistle signals are: 1 long whistle to clear pool. 3 short blasts in an emergency. Address wards by name to make behavior corrections.

The WSS is lead while at the pool. He/she will be the responsible person. Therefore the WSS will set up the DSS or untrained adjunct staff for their areas of supervision and review the emergency action plan with them.

All staff shall supervise and discipline the wards in the pool area and water. The areas of emphasis will be: WSS – those wards in the pool; DSS – those minors in or around the pool.

Proper dress for staff at the pool will be:

1. WSS: As if planning to be in the water: swimsuit and shorts, flip-flops (slippers), shower shoes or Tevas (no boots or tennis shoes), T-shirt, a whistle and a rescue tube.

2. DSS: Be able to move safely around the pool though the deck might be wet and be prepared to assist in the pool if instructed by the WSS. The DSS should also have a whistle for safe supervision.

The automatic pool cover must be fully retracted into its housing to allow full access to the safety zone.

Before minors enter the pool the pool sweep should be removed. To do that just turn the ‘sweep’ switch to the off position and then remove the sweep from the pool. It should be placed by the wall of the pool house.

All minors should take a shower before entering the pool. This can be accomplished by using one or both of the showers on the ends of the pool house.

Those minors choosing not to swim must sit at (not on) one of the tables provided near the shallow end, usually along the fence. There are to be no tables placed beyond the safety line on the deep end of the pool.

All minors will complete a swim test before activity begins. Do not trust a ward’s statement that they can swim. The best way to accomplish this is to have all minors sit on one side of the pool after showering. Have the group slip into the water at the shallow end and hold onto the side. Then have the minors who want to use the pool one-by-one swim the width of the pool across the shallow side of the safety line without kicking off the side wall. Supervising staff should watch for weak swimmers. They need a stroke on their stomach (preferably a freestyle) using arms and a kick. Their arms should be out of the water on freestyle recovery. (Not a doggie-paddle.) Their flutter kick can have bent knees, but someone who swims freestyle with legs moving as though they are climbing stairs or riding a bike does not know how to swim. They must not use backstroke or stand up and stop. A second test if needed is at the discretion of the W.S.S. Again, WSS staff have complete discretion as to which wards are allowed in the pool. They can say that only wards who pass this swim test are allowed in the pool, or only those who pass the swim test are allowed in the deep end. (It has been the experience of WSS that wards who do not know how to swim stay away from the pool and do not ask for a swim test, but again, each person who wants to use the pool must pass a swim test.)

WSS should review pool rules in the swimming pool operations procedures below with DSS and the wards before they enter the pool area on each occasion they are at the pool.

Lightning – clear the pool at the first sight of lightning or sound of thunder and keep it cleared until 30 minutes after the last sight of lightning or sound of thunder.

Heavy rain/hail: if WSS can’t see below the surface wards should not be swimming – this includes mornings when the pool surface ‘fog’ is too thick.

No pool use during power failures as per the county health code.

Clear the pool immediately in the case of a fecal release.


HOURS: As determined by Supervising Probation Counselor

NOTE: Supervising Staff is Ultimately Responsible for Safety of All Activities

1. No diving into pool.

2. No jumping into pool.

3. Enter pool by steps or sit down and go into pool.

4. No swimming without staff supervision. Pool area shall be kept locked when not in use, including gate, bathroom and mechanical room.

5. Minors shall wear only trunks, jock strap, shirt and thongs to the pool area. Each ward is to bring his towel.

6. No running on pool decks.

7. No calls for help when not in distress.

8. No dangerous acts of any kind.

9. No glass in pool area.

10. No games allowed where one person is on another person’s shoulders.

11. No one allowed in deep end unless able to swim the width of the pool.

12. No pushing, pulling, wrestling, dunking, splashing, or other horseplay in pool or dressing room.

13. No persons with bandages, open sores, or skin rashes are to be allowed in the pool.

14. No Ranch clothes in the pool area while in use.

15. Spitting, spouting of water, or blowing nose in the pool or on the decks is prohibited.

16. Safety equipment must not be altered, moved, or used by any minor.

17. Prolonged underwater swimming for distance is forbidden.

18. Shower before entering the pool.

19. No urinating in pool.

20. ‘Thumbs up’ if floating motionless.

21. No one swims within two weeks of having diarrhea”



Since Water Safety Staff are not trained as lifeguards, prevention is the key.



Click on each link for Centers For Disease Control links to read before our class:





At http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi/other-infections.html
please note the answers to these questions: Can head lice spread in a swimming pool? How would a swimmer be likely to get head lice at a pool?

poolchemicalsignatDeAnzaCollege 47 pxls: pool chemical sign in four colors representing various hazardsread the info about a typical sign at a pool chemical storage area: pool chemical signs and note the answer to this question: What is the most important thing for lifeguards and swim teachers to know about chemicals from the perspective of the fire department?


Reading about skills before our class:

reaching assist handhold: click on this link and read: How to rescue a drowning victim using a reaching assist or a shepherd’s crook

In the American Red Cross Lifeguarding manual,

read escapes, page 128-9

read in-water ventilations, page 129

read active victim rear rescue, pages 108-9

read passive victim rear rescue, pages 109-110

read submerged victim in shallow water, page `112

submergedvictim160pix: read rescuing a submerged victim in deep water, pages 116-117. You can also look at: How to rescue a submerged victim

two rescuer backboard removal from water: read Two-person Removal from the Water using a Backboard pages 118-9. You can also read How to remove a victim from the pool and make a mental note that when you are the pretend victim for training, you will lift your head up off the board when you are being pulled out of the water in case the board is dropped.

Read jaw thrust without head extension maneuver (for a suspected head, neck or spinal injury victim) page 150 and review the first steps of a primary assessment for an adult on page 151.

Read head and chin support pages 252-253. You do not need to read the backboarding procedure using head and chin support in the right hand column of page 253.


It is advised that WSS not only read this webpage and the links before our class, but that they re-read it again about a week after class. If they do not take the training on a yearly basis, they should re-read everything before taking the wards to the pool each summer.


Other Resources, not required reading before our class:

Thunderstorm and lightning safety includes details of why you should not use your iPod or cell phone during a storm and the answer to the question: Why can’t you swim during a lightning storm? A strike on a lake doesn’t kill all the fish in the lake.



first aid Secondary Assessment

Times to suspect a spinal injury (symptoms, causes, signs of spinal injury)

causes of fainting, altered mental status, sudden altered mental status, unconsciousness

Seizures, causes of and basic care for

Concussion signs and symptoms, prevention

fast, basic neurological exam

Common mistakes in Professional Rescuer CPR skills

Centers For Disease Control index: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/diseases.html

Bay Area Critical Incident Stress Management Team: http://www.billwilsoncenter.org/services/all/critical.html