Everyday you will find crowded gyms filled with people who workout rather religiously in an effort to maintain their health or to blast their physique and you will also find many people who swim as a means for their cardio workout. This is something that will never go away!
The lap swimmers as we call them come in all ages, sizes and shape. They also come with many issues such as a pre-existing medical condition that warrants such activity. Many older people enjoy swimming as it is extremely low impact, offers them a chance to get out of the house or home they are in. Some older folks will utilize a dedicated walking lap if they can’t swim. Most gyms cater to the 20 somethings all the way to seniors.
As experts in the field of aquatic safety, we must expose a problem that is being swept under a rug so to speak. It is a problem that is not being addressed and lives are being lost to something that is 100% preventable which is drowning. We admit that for many, drowning is secondary to a primary issue such as cardiac arrest or other type of medical condition.
Before we proceed, allow us to point you to the many articles illustrating this problem and it is well documented:
Many gyms do not have poolside lifeguards to monitor swimmers in distress! The common thread in all of the above articles is that there was not a lifeguard on duty. How many of those lives could have been saved had their been a lifeguard on duty? How many people could have been saved had early access defibrillation been initiated in addition to rapid CPR?
“The gym did not have a lifeguard on duty. Signs are posted reminding members that they may swim at their own risk.”
“If there was somebody with him, they could have easily picked him up,” Concialdi said. “This is why we stress never swim alone.”
“Bystanders reportedly pulled a man out of the gym’s pool Friday night, said Tony Bommarito, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority. By that time, Bommarito said, the man was not breathing and had some type of facial trauma.”
We have contacted a few gyms including LA Fitness about this problem and we have not gotten a response from any of them which tells us that perhaps they could care less. We also get the impression that as long as signs are posted that a “lifeguard is not on duty” releases them from any liability however we know that in a world where lawsuits abound, they may find themselves in a world of hurt regardless of what is posted.
If the gyms want to do the right thing, we suggest:
- All pools have a lifeguard/medic stationed poolside. Basic lifeguards may not suffice as their training only covers basic first aid/CPR. The lifeguard/medic (EMT or Paramedic) would be able to render more advanced care on scene with a greater probability of a positive outcome.
- Pools should have an AED within grasp on the pool deck.
The two above suggestions may have a huge impact but it is up to corporate personnel to decide what their priorities are. Profits or lives? The choice should be pretty clear but unfortunately profits over safety is what they are about.
As of this posting we are yet to hear from LA Fitness. We will update on this regularly!