safety standards - Lifesaving Society
Published by the Lifesaving Society. Seventh Printing, December 2014.
Copyright 2004 by the Royal Life Saving Society Canada. Reproduction, by any
means, of materials contained in this book is prohibited unless authorized by the
publisher. Requests should be directed to the Alberta and Northwest Territories office
(see back cover for address).
The Lifesaving Society is Canada’s lifeguarding expert. The Society works to prevent
drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart®
public education initiatives, water-incident research, aquatic safety management
services, and lifesaving sport.
Annually, well over 700,000 Canadians participate in the Society’s swimming,
lifesaving, lifeguard, and leadership training programs. The Society sets the standard
for aquatic safety in Canada and certifies Canada’s National Lifeguards.
The Society is an independent, charitable organization educating Canadian lifesavers
since the first Lifesaving Society Bronze Medallion Award was earned in 1896.
The Society represents Canada internationally as an active member of the royal
Life Saving Society and the International Life Saving Federation. The Society is
the Canadian governing body for lifesaving sport - a sport recognized by the
International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation.
® Water Smart, Swim for Life, Swim to Survive, and Lifesaving Society are registered trademarks of the
Royal Life Saving Society Canada. Trademarks other than those owned by the Lifesaving Society used in
this document belong to their registered owners.
Canada’s lifeguarding
­– saving lives for more than 100 years.
Almost 500 Canadians die every year in water-related incidents. Most of these are preventable
and occur in unsupervised settings, which is why more Canadians need the basic swimming
and lifesaving skills to save themselves in an aquatic emergency.
The Lifesaving Society has a long and proud history of teaching swimming and lifesaving to
We trace our roots to the late 19th century in London, England where we began as The Swimmers’ Life Saving Society. In 1894, Arthur Lewis Cochrane brought the lifesaving skills they
learned in his homeland to Canada. And they passed them along to students at Upper Canada
College in Toronto, Ontario. In June 1896, 18 of his students were the first recipients of our
distinguished Bronze Medallion award. Under the patronage of King Edward VII in 1904, we
became The Royal Life Saving Society.
In the 1950s, we were the first Canadian organization to adopt mouth-to-mouth as the
methods of choice over manual methods of artificial respiration. We started our first CPR training program in the 1960s. In the 1980s, we initiated a project to design an economical CPR
training manikin (ACTAR 911™), and we launched our Water Smart® drowning prevention
In the 1990s, the Society introduced innovative new programs including Boat Operator Accredited Training, the Junior Lifeguard Club and the Canadian Swim Patrol Program, and
we launched our Aquatic Safety Management Service. We expanded our First Aid training
programs and completely revamped the Bronze medal and the National Lifeguard training
program to suit the needs of the new century.
In 2001, we defined the Canadian Swim to Survive® Standard and subsequently launched our
Swim to Survive program to teach Canadians the minimum essential skills they need to survive
an unexpected fall into deep water. Our learn-to swim program – Swim for Life® – is our latest drowning prevention initiative.
Today, we are known to Canadians simply as the Lifesaving Society, a national volunteer
organization and registered charity. And while we’ve expanded our strengths over the past
century to include research and public education, we haven’t forgotten the ideals that formed
the foundation of our organization.
The Lifesaving Society has always been – and will continue to be – Canada’s lifeguarding
Canada’s lifeguarding experts
Executive Summary
The Drowning Problem
Risk Management
Personnel and Supervision
Emergency Procedures
Safety Systems
Pool Operation
Safety Systems
Executive Summary
Public Aquatic Facility
Every owner of a public aquatic facility has an obligation to provide a safe environment for every user of
the pool. This obligation has been very clearly identified and affirmed by court decisions across Canada.
In order to meet this obligation, you need the assistance of the experts – the Lifesaving Society. The
Lifesaving Society is the authority in aquatic standards and safety. Our standards and expertise are
based on extensive research and more than 100 years of public safety education and service. We are
leaders in research and prevention of injury and drowning.
The Lifesaving Society has a mandate for public safety. The Lifesaving Society Aquatic Safety
Standards - Public Facilities are your source of information about how to provide a safe environment
and understand the regulations and standards that you must follow to achieve this goal. The Society
developed and published these standards to educate pool owners about what they can do to operate
their pool safely. Applying these standards to your pool will help you protect your customers – the
public. It will also help you reduce the risk of injury or legal actions resulting from injuries.
The information in the Lifesaving Society Aquatic Safety Standards - Public Facilities is organized in a
logical order to help you understand the material and take the necessary actions to create and maintain
a safe environment for your pool users. The following sections of the Standards address information for
specific needs:
The Drowning Problem – Provides you with information from the Lifesaving Society
Drowning Research about who is at risk of drowning or being injured at your pool and the
behaviours that may result in injuries.
Definitions – Definitions of terms used in the standards.
Risk Management – Provides you with information about your responsibility as the pool
owner for the safe operation of your pool. Explains the risk management process that you can
use to analyze and understand the risks associated with your pool and take steps to eliminate or
reduce these risks.
Personnel and Supervision – Explains the requirements for staff to operate and supervise a
public aquatic facility. It also includes recommendations for staff training and safety.
Emergency Procedures – Emergency procedures are the steps pool staff can take to respond
to an incident or help an injured person. This section provides guidance to help you identify
and plan for the procedures you will need for your pool and select the necessary emergency
Safety Systems – Safety systems are the day to day actions and policies established to
prevent incidents and injuries. They include such things as pool rules and how they are to be
implemented, procedures for controlling access to the pool, suggestions for signs to educate
users about hazards and safe behaviours for using the pool, and systems for supervising patrons.
Pool Operation – Presents recommendations for the procedures used to operate the
swimming pool and maintain a safe pool. This includes maintaining safe water quality, handling
pool chemicals, and inspecting and testing pool equipment.
Safe Environment – This section provides you with direction about how to make the physical
environment of the pool safe. This includes items such as fencing, gates, recreational equipment
such as slides, safe water quality, pool and equipment maintenance and more.
Resources – This section includes information about additional support resources and
information available from the Lifesaving Society. This includes Lifesaving Society links to
Government resources and other organizations which can assist aquatic facility owners and
operators to provide a safe environment. The Safety Management section of the Lifesaving
Public Aquatic Facility
Executive Summary
Society website – – is your key to the most complete and current resources
from the Society. The website will also have information about emerging issues that may not
have been included in this edition of the Lifesaving Society Aquatic Safety Standards - Public
The Lifesaving Society recommends that you read the Lifesaving Society Aquatic Safety Standards Public Facilities and use this document to evaluate your pool and determine what steps you can take to
create a safe environment for your patrons. This information should be shared with facility staff such as
lifeguards and pool operators as well as other management who have a safety management role such
as a community recreation director and your municipal risk manager. At least one copy of the Lifesaving
Society Aquatic Safety Standards - Public Facilities should be kept in the pool office for easy reference
by facility staff. Additional copies are recommended for the other safety managers who should be aware
of these standards.
Contact the Lifesaving Society for assistance to understand, interpret and implement the
recommendations in the Standards. The Society contact information is located on the inside back cover.
Public Aquatic Facility
Faced with the potential for multi-million dollar lawsuits, public aquatic facility owners are becoming
more proactive in assessing and managing risk in their aquatic environment. The Lifesaving Society
believes that many incidents are foreseeable and therefore preventable.
As the lifeguarding experts, the Lifesaving Society is the authority in aquatic standards and safety. The
Society establishes standards for public safety and consults on aquatic safety issues. The Society sets
public safety standards for the aquatic industry such as the owners and operators of swimming pools,
interprets safety standards for aquatic facility owners, advises government and serves as an expert
witness in legal cases involving aquatic safety issues. The Lifesaving Society Public Aquatic Facility
Safety Standards present the Lifesaving Society standards and recommendations for the safe operation
of public aquatic facilities.
The Lifesaving Society has developed and published public safety standards for aquatic activities and
facilities throughout our history. The Lifesaving Society Safety Standards are compilations of aquatic
safety guidance from Lifesaving Society research that has been published over many years in a variety
of Society manuals and publications as well as external publications. The scope of Society research into
public safety and risk management practices includes research and real operational experience from
across Canada and around the world. In turn, the Society’s expertise is shared internationally with
the Royal Life Saving Society Branches throughout the Commonwealth and with the International Life
Saving Federation.
The Lifesaving Society Public Aquatic Facility Safety Standards assembles the standards published in
these many different sources into a single document to make this information available and readily
accessible to the public aquatic facility owner. This document provides owners of public aquatic facilities
a set of clear recommendations from the Lifesaving Society for the safe operation of their pool. In
addition to the Society’s recommendations, this document also refers public aquatic facility owners
to other codes, regulations, statutes or standards that should be considered when developing safe
operating practices for their pool. This document does not, in any way, replace or supersede current
legislation. Owners and users must obey all provincial and municipal legislation, regulations and bylaws
specific to their public aquatic facility and community.
The Lifesaving Society recognizes that the recommendations provided in the Lifesaving Society Public
Aquatic Facility Safety Standards are not the only solutions that public aquatic facility owners can use
to provide a safe environment for their customers. The Lifesaving Society also recognizes that each
public aquatic facility has unique features. No single document can address every situation and need.
In situations where owners implement alternative safety measures, the Society recommends that they
thoroughly evaluate and document these measures. Contact the Lifesaving Society for assistance to
understand, interpret and implement the recommendations in the Standards.
The Drowning Problem
Public Aquatic Facility
Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death in Canada. The great tragedy is that
the vast majority of these deaths are preventable. More than 99% of these fatalities occur in aquatic
environments without lifeguard supervision. Public aquatic facilities that are supervised by trained
lifeguards are the safest locations for Canadians to go to enjoy aquatic activities. Since 1970, many
public aquatic facilities have been built in Canada and have become the preferred site for many
Canadians to engage in swimming and many other aquatic recreational activities. This has been a
significant contributor to the fourfold reduction in the Canadian water-related death rate since 1970.
Over a 10-year period from 1991 to 2000, 42 people drowned in public aquatic facilities. While this
amounts to less than 1% of water-related fatalities, there is clearly room for improvement. In addition
to the fatalities, more patrons were injured and needed medical attention. Public aquatic facilities have
a drowning-prevention role both within the facility as well as within the larger community. Within the
facility, they must make every effort to identify potential hazards and take effective steps to prevent
bathers from injury.
Within the larger community, the facility staff can provide training in swimming and lifesaving skills as
well as Water Smart® education to teach the public to protect themselves around aquatic settings or
during aquatic activities. Information about Lifesaving Society affiliate membership, training programs
and Water Smart® education can be accessed through the Society website or by directly contacting the
Lifesaving Society. Water Smart® education materials available from the Lifesaving Society includes
posters such as the “Within Arm’s Reach” poster and brochure, safety messages for signs and
brochures, videos and activities that can be used to educate the public. The following Water Smart®
information can be used to help develop safety rules for your facility and educate your patrons.
Children & Aquatics
While all age groups are at risk around water, deaths involving children are of particular concern.
Drowning fatalities in children under the age of five (5) are more than double that of any other age
group. A major contributing factor in the deaths of children is the lack of adult supervision. For children
under five (5) years old, 85% were unsupervised when they drowned. For children ages 5-12, 61%
were unsupervised and in the age group from 13-15, 34% were unsupervised. These are alarming
statistics, and speak volumes to the need for supervision of bathers at your pool.
Children are naturally curious about water. They are persistent and ingenious in finding a way to it.
Tragedy can strike quickly. Ten seconds of unsupervised play or exploration can result in a drowning.
That’s all the time it takes! It also only takes a few inches of water for a drowning to occur. To prevent
such tragedies, children must be supervised any time they have access to the public aquatic facility.
The best protection is to insist that all young children in the pool be directly supervised “Within Arm’s
Reach” distance by a caregiver. The message to your patrons should be: If you are not within arm’s
reach, you have gone too far. The role of the lifeguard should be to provide an additional level of
supervision and educate caregivers about their supervision and drowning prevention roles. School age
children also need Water Smart® education about safe ways too enjoy the pool. Requiring a buddy
system for these children is a good way to provide another layer of supervision.
The key to protecting children at a public aquatic facility is preventing unsupervised access and always
insisting that they be closely supervised when in the pool area.
Diving & Shallow Water
Lifesaving Society Drowning Research has found that shallow water presents risks that the public
aquatic facility owner/operator should consider. For shallow water (less than 2.5m deep), the only safe
entry method is feet first. Patrons who dive into shallow water are at great risk. They risk hitting the
bottom head-first and injuring their spine from the impact. Many of these victims are young men. The
consequences are tragic. Death sometimes occurs, but most times, the person is paralyzed. One dive
into the pool can change their quality of life forever.
Approximately 34 Canadians become partially or completely paralyzed each year as a result of breaking
Public Aquatic Facility
The Drowning Problem
their necks in water-related incidents. Most of these injuries occur while diving into shallow water. They
also occur as a result of roughness or “horseplay” around the pool – throwing or pushing a person into
the water, diving from high heights, diving off shoulders, or being “boosted” into the air by another
swimmer. Dangerous play can result in a range of injuries which include possible spinal injuries, injuries
resulting from collisions with the pool bottom or sides as well as injuries resulting from collisions
between bathers. Patrons need Water Smart® education and rules about safe ways to enter, play and
enjoy the pool.
Alcoholic beverages are involved in approximately one-third (36%) of all Canadian preventable waterrelated deaths, and half (48%) of fatalities where the victim was 18 to 34 years of age.
The high incidence of alcohol being a factor in drowning is an important factor for the public aquatic
facility owner/operator to keep in mind. Many Canadian adults do not understand the increased risk
from mixing aquatic activities and alcohol consumption. The effects of alcohol can include impaired
judgement and physical coordination. Impaired patrons may not recognize hazards and may engage
in dangerous behaviour. In addition they are at increased risk of injury as a result of their physical
impairment. Consumption of alcohol in the pool area or using the pool while under the influence should
be prohibited. Every effort should be made to identify impaired patrons and prevent access to the pool.
Public Aquatic Facility Public Aquatic Facility
Any swimming pool generally available to the public or any segment of the public for their use and
includes whirlpools, wave pools and waterparks; or
A swimming pool operated in conjunction with or as part of a program of an educational, instructional,
physical fitness or athletic institution supported in whole or in part by public funds or public
Facility Manager Means a person designated by the facility owner as being responsible for the management and
operation of the facility.
Owner Pool Operator Swimmer or Bather Patron Means any person using the aquatic facility. This includes swimmers or bathers plus any spectators or
other persons on the deck, general area or in other areas such as change rooms within the aquatic
Lifeguard Means a person holding a current National Lifeguard certification appointed by the owner or operator
to maintain supervision over the swimmers while they are on deck or in the pool.
Deck General Area Means an area adjacent to the deck within the pool enclosure that is used for activities other than
Diving Board Means a flexible board intended for use by divers.
Diving Platform Wave Pool Current Award Lifeguard Supervision LIFESAVING SOCIETY
Means the person or corporation who is the owner of a public aquatic facility
Means the person designated at any given time who is responsible for the maintenance of health
requirements as outlined in the Swimming Pool Regulations. This person must hold certification from an
approved swimming pool operator’s training program.
Means a person participating in any recreational activity in or on the water.
Means the area immediately surrounding the pool.
Means a rigid board or platform intended for use by divers.
Means a swimming pool that is provided with a means for inducing wave motion in the water.
Means a training certification which is valid for a specified period from the date of certification or
examination. The length of time that a certificate is current may be set by the certifying body and/or
government regulation. For example, Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard Award is current for two (2)
years from the date of certification and Lifesaving Standard First Aid certification is current for three (3)
years from the date of certification.
is the deliberate and conscious act of observing facility users to ensure the lifeguard is immediately
aware of any incident or behaviour which may prove life-threatening or injurious.
Risk Management
Who’s Responsible
Public Aquatic Facility
Ultimately the owner of a public aquatic facility is responsible for the safe operation of the facility. The
responsibility for the operation of the facility may be delegated to a Facility Manager or Operator. This
responsibility may be further delegated to individuals such as Supervisors or Lifeguards who may be left
in charge of the facility if it is a supervised public pool. When the owner or manager is not present, the
person in-charge, regardless of title, assumes full responsibility for the safe operation of the facility.
The Lifesaving Society Public Aquatic Facility Safety Standards outlines the Lifesaving Society’s
recommendations for minimum safety requirements for public pools. Safety must be the primary concern
of pool owners and managers. All facility staff are encouraged to go beyond the minimum requirements
in their mandate to provide a safe environment. This means practising risk management: working
diligently to prevent emergencies, but also responding to them quickly and efficiently if they do happen.
Risk Management Progress
Risk Management is an ongoing process that is used to identify risks associated with your pool and
activities in the pool, and take measures to reduce risk and prevent incidents and injuries. The process
includes the following steps:
1. Identify risks
2. Evaluate: Why are they happening? What is the source?
3. Develop controls and strategies to minimize or eliminate risks including education of facility
users regarding safe behaviours
4. Implement
5. Monitor efforts and evaluate results
Preventing Incidents
All facility personnel must view incident prevention as an integral part of their jobs. An attitude should
be fostered and encouraged among staff that they are hired to anticipate incidents and take steps to
prevent them, as well as respond to emergencies.
Establishing safety systems are important steps in prevention. One way of doing this is to keep accurate
incident records. Tracking incidents and analysing these records to develop strategies to reduce risk is
critical to risk management.
Facility analysis is an important means to reduce risk. Is equipment in good working order? Are there
danger zones where incidents tend to occur or may occur? Are there problems created by structures or
design? How secure is the area? Are the fencing and locking systems adequate? Can these be changed
or the potential risk be reduced?
The owner of a public aquatic facility must make certain that an insurance policy and liability coverage
are in place to cover the facility, staff, volunteers and patrons. Check with your insurance broker
or agent to make certain that you have the appropriate insurance coverage and understand any
requirements, limitations or exclusions that may be conditions of the insurance policy.
Personnel and Supervision
Supervision Lifeguard Qualifications
Instructor Qualifications Public Aquatic Facility
Lifeguards must be on duty and on deck at all times when the pool area is open for use. In the
event that the pool is being used solely for aquatic instruction, a qualified aquatic instructor may be
substituted for a lifeguard only if each instructor is also a qualified lifeguard. Each instructor can only
supervise one class or group. Direct supervision means direct and uninterrupted control of the bathers
by the aquatic instructor who is charged with their care. If even one instructor is not a lifeguard, a
lifeguard must supervise the pool area.
Lifeguard - Required minimum qualifications:
Minimum age 16;
Hold a current National Lifeguard Award;
Hold a current Standard First Aid (Aquatic Emergency Care Award or Lifesaving Standard First
Aid recommended); and
Be trained in the facility safety systems and emergency procedures.
Aquatic Instructor - Required minimum qualifications
Minimum age 15;
Hold a current Instructor award such as Swim for Life Instructor or Lifesaving Instructor;
Hold a current lifesaving or lifeguarding award - minimum Bronze Cross (Distinction and
National Lifeguard exceed the Bronze Cross minimum); and
Be trained in the facility safety systems and emergency procedures.
Note: If the instructor is also required to function as a lifeguard, they must meet the required minimum
qualifications for a lifeguard.
All new or returning lifeguards and instructors musty receive orientation training before assuming their
supervision duties. This training should include:
Orientation Training Inservice Training LIFESAVING SOCIETY
Introduction to fellow staff members;
Exploration of job description and responsibilities;
Introduction to and evaluation of hazards and risks in the facility, and a review of facility rules
and policies concerning them;
Review of personnel policies and procedures;
Specific job-related training required to familiarize staff with the facility’s programs, activities,
operation and maintenance, and policies and procedures concerning supplies and equipment;
Specific training in the facility’s safety systems and emergency procedures; and
Specific training in public relations and effectively dealing with the patrons.
Pool staff and employers must recognize the need for regular review of procedures and skills
assessment. In-service training should include:
Evaluation and practice of emergency procedures designed specifically for the public aquatic
Review and practice of supervision, recognition and rescue skills;
Practice use of safety equipment;
Review of supervision policies and procedures including number of staff per patron and
guidelines for patron and staff conduct;
Public Aquatic Facility
Personnel and Supervision
Supervision Standard •
Review and practice of first aid skills including use of first aid equipment and supplies;
Practice of public relations and effectively dealing with the patrons; and
WHMIS training appropriate to the materials and equipment they may be expected to use.
Every owner/operator of a public aquatic facility must establish an Aquatic Facility Supervision Standard.
This standard must define the minimum requirements for lifeguards and instructors who are responsible
for the supervision of bathers. The standard should include:
Fitness and skill standards appropriate for the facility;
Minimum vision and hearing standards;
Practices to evaluate if conditions such as injuries, illness and pregnancy prevent the staff person
from meeting the standard;
Minimum training to effectively perform all required supervision duties; and
A process to identify and replace on duty any staff member who is not able to meet the standard
at any time they is scheduled to work in a supervision role.
Two parties have a responsibility to ensure that staff are able meet their obligations - the employer and
the lifeguard/instructor. The employer is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that supervision
staff are able to perform to the Aquatic Facility Supervision Standard when employed in a supervision
role. The lifeguard/instructor also has a personal responsibility to be able to meet the required Aquatic
Facility Supervision Standard at anytime that they is lifeguarding or instructing. It also requires that
anytime they is not able to meet the standard (e.g. due to illness or injury) they must inform her
employer. A lifeguard who is unable to meet the minimum standard to lifeguard or instruct at her
facility should not work in a supervision role until they is able meet the standard.
At least one staff member must be a certified pool operator. The pool operator is responsible for the
safe operation of the physical plant of the swimming pool including maintaining safe water quality. The
pool operator must hold a certificate confirming that individual’s successful completion of an approved
swimming pool operator’s training program that is recognized under the Swimming Pool Regulation.
Every public aquatic facility should develop a Staff Manual. This manual should be readily available to
the facility staff. The Lifesaving Society recommends that all staff be provided with a personal copy of
the Staff Manual. The intent of this manual is to function as a training and reference resource for the
pool staff and management. The suggested content should include:
Staff Manual Staff Communication LIFESAVING SOCIETY
All facility supervision procedures and requirements;
All specific safety systems and emergency procedures that the staff member is required to know
and be able to do;
Relevant employment policies and procedures as well as any specific employment standards
such as the Aquatic Facility Supervision Standard; and
The Staff Manual may be a subset of the more comprehensive Facility Operating Manual.
A system must be implemented which provides for regular communication and updates for facility staff.
The primary purpose is to communicate information that is useful in maintaining the safety of patrons
and staff. Examples of this information includes:
Notice of large groups scheduled to attend the facility;
Reporting of equipment in need of repair and steps taken to protect users; and
Notice of equipment closure or repair.
Public Aquatic Facility
Personnel and Supervision
Health and Safety Barrier Devices
All pool staff must have access to barrier devices to prevent cross contamination in a first aid situation.
At minimum this must include a rescue breathing barrier device with a one-way valve and disposable
surgical gloves. Because public aquatic facility staff may be required to initiate first aid before the
facility first aid kit arrives, the Lifesaving Society recommends that all staff have barrier devices that can
be carried with them while on duty.
Sun Protection
All pool staff working at outdoor facilities must have effective protection from sun and weather.
Protection from the sun may include protective clothing, SPF 30 sunscreen and/or shade structures
at the lifeguard stations. The Lifesaving Society position statement – Sun Protection in the Aquatic
Environment – is posted in the Safety Management section of the Society website at www.lifesaving.
Emergency Procedures
Public Aquatic Facility
All public aquatic facilities must develop and document a set of emergency procedures appropriate to
the needs of the facility. The emergency procedures may be a combination of general and specialized
emergency procedures designed to address incidents or injuries that may be expected to occur at the
specific facility. It may be necessary to have different versions to accommodate different staffing levels
(e.g. one (1) lifeguard vs. two (2) lifeguards on duty).
These are generalized procedures which can be adapted to a variety of incidents or injuries.
General Procedures
Minor Emergencies - adequate pool coverage can be maintained at all times by one or more
lifeguards (e.g. simple first aid, public relations)
Major Emergencies - adequate pool coverage cannot be maintained and pool must be cleared
until lifeguard attention can be directed back to pool supervision (e.g. multiple victims, serious
first aid, pullout requiring resuscitation)
An excellent reference for developing emergency procedures for your pool is the Lifesaving Society
lifeguarding manual – Alert, lifeguarding in action. This manual also provides excellent guidance for
many of the safety practices that are required for a safe environment. Additional resources are available
on the Lifesaving Society website at
Specialized procedures are designed to address very specific situations that may require very clear,
detailed procedures. These situations may include events which threaten multiple individuals such
as a fire or a gas leak. Other situations such as the treatment of possible spinal injuries benefit from
developing very clear and detailed procedures which can be practised and developed to a competent
and consistent level of skill. Facility management and staff should analyse the types of situations that
would benefit from specialized procedures and develop the appropriate emergency procedures.
Specialized Procedures
Examples of common specialized emergency procedures include:
Evacuation procedures for fire or chemical exposure such as chlorine gas leak;
Power failure;
Missing person;
Bomb threat;
Spinal procedures;
Scuba injury;
Specialized features such as diving tanks, waterslides or wave pools.
Emergency procedures should include and document at least these elements:
Emergency signals;
Procedures for clearing the pool;
Roles of all responding staff;
Roles of bystanders;
Procedures for contacting emergency services;
Defined focal points for removing a victim from the water and providing treatment;
Emergency equipment required;
Procedures for notifying any other persons (e.g. management, a victim’s family members, other
persons that might be affected by the incident); and
Practices for dealing with media inquiries.
Public Aquatic Facility
Emergency Procedures
Required Emergency Equipment
Every public aquatic facility must have the following emergency equipment available and appropriately
located for use in an emergency:
A dedicated emergency telephone with posted emergency numbers;
At least two (2) buoyant throwing assists with a buoyant line attached. The length of the line
should be at least the width of the pool;
At least two (2) reaching poles at least three (3) metres in length. Ideally the pole should have a
large hook that can be used to pull a person to safety;
At least one spineboard with an effective immobilization system. At least one extra spineboard
with head immobilizer is recommended for backup when a spineboard is removed from the
facility to transport a spinal injury victim;
At least one Number two (2) first aid kit with a rescue breathing barrier device with a one-way
valve and disposable surgical gloves. Extra supplies for high use items such as bandages should
be available; and
A designated first aid area.
The following equipment may also be appropriate for lifeguard use:
A rescue aid such as a rescue can or tube;
Oxygen inhalator capable of a flow rate of 10 - 15 litres/minute. Inclusion of a pocket mask with
oxygen fitting can permit oxygen resuscitation of a nonbreathing victim;
One or more extra spineboards with head immobilizers for training purposes; and
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
Note: Emergency equipment can be purchased from the Lifesaving Society and various safety equipment
suppliers. Instructions for building throwing assists and reaching poles are available on the Lifesaving
Society website
Contacting Emergency Services
Every public aquatic facility must have an emergency telephone which is easily accessible from the
deck and directly connected to emergency services or the telephone utility. “Directly connected”
is interpreted as guaranteed direct access. Facilities that use phones not directly connected to an
emergency service must provide a phone line that guarantees immediate access to the emergency
operator. A shared phone line is not acceptable if it allows the phone line to be busy when required for
an outgoing emergency call. The telephone must be able to work in the event of a power failure.
Emergency contact telephone numbers must be posted by the emergency telephone.
It is recommended that a script for the emergency call be posted beside the emergency phone. This is
particularly important if the emergency procedures include the use of bystanders to contact emergency
services. The script should be designed to provide the information required to direct the request for
emergency assistance. This may include information such as: facility address, phone number, a prompt
to describe the nature of the emergency, the location for emergency access, etc. A sample script is
available on the Lifesaving Society website.
In the event of a serious injury incident, all persons involved in the incident such as rescuers or
bystanders should be provided access to Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) education and
support. The Lifesaving Society can provide contacts for CISM support. Local EMS and victim services
organizations can also provide local contact information for Critical Incident Stress Management
services in your community.
Critical Incident Stress
Safety Systems
Public Aquatic Facility
All public aquatic facilities must develop and document a set of safety systems appropriate to the
needs of the facility. Safety systems are the day to day actions and policies established to prevent
incidents and injuries. They include such things as pool rules and how they are to be implemented, and
procedures for preparing the pool area for bathers. Safety systems are an important part of minimizing
risk and preventing injury.
Facility Operating Manual
Every Public aquatic facility must develop and maintain a comprehensive Facility Operating Manual. This
manual should document all facility operating standards, expectations, policies and procedures required
for the safe operation of the facility. The purpose of the manual is to serve as a training and reference
resource. It should be stored in an easily accessible location.
Pool Safety Rules
Every public aquatic facility must develop and apply a set of rules to guide safe use of the aquatic
facility and its equipment. These rules are intended to reasonably control the risks associated with the
use of an aquatic facility while also facilitating the enjoyment of the aquatic recreation experience. The
rules must be documented in the Facility Operating Manual. Facility staff should carefully analyse the
facility and equipment to identify risks which may be inherent in their design and construction. Patterns
of patron use will also provide useful data. The results of this analysis should be used to develop the
safety rules. These rules should be communicated to patrons through the use of signs, announcements
and other forms of public education.
Swimming Pool Regulations
The Swimming Pool Regulation requires that operators regulate behaviour which could result in pool
contamination and/or disease transmission. This includes excluding persons who have diarrhea, or
who have had diarrhea in the past two (2) weeks, those who have an enteric disease or a disease
communicable from the skin, requiring a cleansing shower, preventing polluting of the pool water, etc.
For more information refer to the Swimming Pool Regulation of the Alberta Public Health Act.
Diving injuries are a leading cause of spinal injuries. Over 90% of spinal injuries occur in water less than
1.8 metres (6 feet) deep. Based on this research, the Lifesaving Society’s Standard for a minimum safe
water depth for diving entries off the side of a pool or dock is 2.5 metres. Entries into water less than
2.5m deep should be feet first.
Safe Diving Rules
Recreational Equipment Rules
Rules for the safe use of recreational equipment such as diving boards and platforms, slides, inflatables,
etc. must be developed. These rules should include directions for safe use as well as any necessary
restrictions such as age or height restrictions.
Signs serve two functions in a public aquatic facility:
Inform users about the suggested rules for safe use of the facility; and
Warn users of hazards and ways to avoid these hazards.
Signs with general safety rules must be posted in a conspicuous location in the pool area. Where
possible, use signs which use pictures to convey the message. Use of universal symbols provides instant
recognition and avoids confusion if readers cannot read or do not read English.
Standards for Signage
Red slash - the activity is prohibited.
Yellow background - warning or caution
Green Border - activity is permitted
Rules: clearly indicate which activities are prohibited or permitted. Including the reason for the rule increases
Duty to Warn: Location:
identify hazards, the risk or consequence of the hazard and how to avoid it.
should be posted at the hazard and where possible, at the access points or routes.
Public Aquatic Facility
Safety Systems
Signs Required by Public Health Act
The Swimming Pool Regulation lists requirements for “health protection signs” that must be posted in
the change rooms, pool area and office area. They also require a sign to be posted which indicates the
maximum bather load for the pool.
Facility Safety Rules Signs
The facility safety rules signs should list general rules to guide the safe use of the public aquatic facility.
Some sample rules which should be posted are:
Suggested minimum age and requirements for supervision of children (e.g. all children under the
age of 7 should be accompanied “Within Arms Reach” by a responsible person 16 years of age or
Request for notification of medical conditions that may affect bather safety; eg. seizure disorder
(e.g. please alert the attendant of any medical conditions you may have);
Anyone not toilet trained must wear protective water-resistant swimwear to prevent fouling and
contamination of the pool;
Please walk, deck is slippery;
Foot-first entry only into the pool (a picture of no diving);
Play safe. Don’t push others into the pool; and
No glass containers are allowed in the pool or on the deck.
Note: It is a common practice to include the health protection rules required by the Swimming Pool
Regulation on the facility safety rules signs.
Whirlpool/Hot Tub Signs
Safety rules for whirlpools commonly include some or all of the following examples:
Check for safe temperature - a maximum of 40ºC;
Enter and exit slowly. Headache or dizziness are signs to leave the water immediately;
Do not use the whirlpool alone;
Limit length of use to 10 - 15 minutes at one time. Note: A clock should be clearly visible from the
Children under 12 years of age should be supervised by an adult at all times. Children under five
years of age are not allowed in the whirlpool;
Pregnant women should use a whirlpool only with the approval of their doctor;
Persons suffering from heart disease, diabetes and high or low blood pressure should consult their
doctor prior to use;
Do not use the whirlpool while under the influence of alcohol, antihistamines, anticoagulants,
vasoconstrictors, vasodilators, tranquilizers, stimulants or narcotics.
Recreational Equipment Signs
Recreational equipment such as waterslides, diving boards or rope swings require specific rules and
restrictions for safe use of each item. These rules must be posted in a readily visible location near each
piece of equipment.
Diving Signs
Signs providing clear direction about where diving is permitted or restricted must be posted in locations
readily visible to the diver.
Public Aquatic Facility
Safety Systems
Other Signs
Signage should be considered for appropriate locations that informs customers about emergency signals
and the facility admission policy. Facility management and staff should regularly evaluate if the existing
signs are effective or whether other signage is required and take appropriate follow-up measures.
Admission policies must be established as part of the facility rules and communicated to the public
through signs and public education. Suggested topics for admission policies include:
Admission Policies
Bather Load
Supervision System
Minimum age and requirements for supervision of children;
Notification of medical conditions that may affect bather safety (e.g. seizure disorder);
Requirements for group admissions such as orientation to the facility and its rules;
Additional supervision requirements.
The total number of bathers must not exceed the maximum bather load for the pool as defined in
the Swimming Pool Regulation. Bathers refers to people on the deck and in the water. People in
the general area (such as areas set aside for loungers or for watching swimmers) are not considered
bathers. However, if these people cross over from the general area onto the deck or into the pool, then
they become part of the bather load.
Every Public Aquatic Facility must establish systems to provide effective supervision of all persons and
activities within the pool area.
Minimize Distractions
The primary duty of lifeguards is supervision. All efforts must be made to minimize distractions which
may interfere with this duty. Short conversations between lifeguards and bathers are necessary
for public education about safe use of the facility and are key injury prevention practices. Longer
conversations are not recommended because they interfere with effective supervision. Assigning duties
such as pool maintenance which may distract the lifeguard is not recommended.
Lifeguard Positioning
The supervision position(s) of lifeguards must be designed to eliminate blind spots in the pool area. It
must be possible for the lifeguard team to observe all bathers in the pool area. Facility management
and staff must analyse the pool area and implement systems that provide coverage of blind spots.
These systems might include the use of elevated lifeguard stations, walking lifeguard patrols or the
use of observation tools such as large mirrors or video cameras and monitors. A system must be
implemented to provide regular observation of off-deck areas such as change rooms, saunas and steam
rooms, exercise facilities, etc.
Lifeguarding is a vigilance task. Every effort must be made to keep the lifeguard alert and focused on
supervision. Regular rotation between stations and regular breaks from the vigilance task are required.
If two (2) or more lifeguards are on duty on deck, they should rotate lifeguard stations every 15 - 30
The Lifesaving Society recommends that lifeguards should be provided with a minimum 15 minute
break from the supervision task every two (2) hours. During this break lifeguards may be required to
perform other duties such as maintenance.
All lifeguards must be able to continuously scan their area of responsibility. Short interruptions which
are designed to prevent injury (e.g. safety education) are acceptable.
Public Aquatic Facility
Safety Systems
Lifeguard Identification
All lifeguards must wear a uniform which permits them to be easily and quickly identified. The purposes
of the lifeguard uniform is to make the lifeguards stand out so that they are readily distinguished from
bathers and spectators, and can be quickly contacted in case of an emergency or when assistance is
Number of Lifeguards
At least one lifeguard must be on duty on deck in order to open the pool for use. The Lifesaving Society
recommends that at least one other trained responder be on duty, within call and on the premises.
This additional person should be trained in the emergency procedures for the facility. This person does
not have to be a lifeguard and may be another staff person such as a cashier, janitor or manager. This
recommendation for an additional person also applies during periods when the pool is being used for
instruction or competition under the direct supervision of one aquatic instructor.
Note: “Within call” means the lifeguard on deck must be able to call the additional person by voice or
by a prearranged alarm system. The lifeguard must not have to leave the pool enclosure or the victim to
summon the assistance of the additional person. The additional person must be on the premises. Use
of a pager or cell phone to call for assistance from an additional person who is off-site does not fit the
meaning of “within call.”
Lifeguard to Bather Ratios
The following table has been used by public aquatic facilities for many years in Alberta (before 1985) as
a reference for determining the minimum number of lifeguards required for a given bather load.
Numbers of Bathers
Number of Lifeguards
1 - 75
76 - 150
151 - 275
276 - 400
401 - 550
551 - 700
701 - 1,000
Note: These numbers were developed at a time when the typical public aquatic facility was a single rectangular swimming pool,
usually 10 - 13m wide by 25m long (surface area of about 250 - 325 square metres). In many cases, these ratios will not be
adequate to provide effective supervision and it will be necessary to increase the number of lifeguards for a given number of
Facility managers and staff must analyse their specific facility, equipment and bather behaviours to
determine appropriate lifeguard to bather ratios for their facility. Some of the factors to consider
Size and configuration of the facility;
Wave pool;
Number of pools;
Number of bathers;
Age or ability/disability of patrons;
Level of adult supervision such as parents or teachers;
Type of bather activity;
Public Aquatic Facility
Safety Systems
Danger areas;
Equipment in use (e.g. toys, slides);
Public education and relations requirements;
Indoor or outdoor operation; and
Blind spots or glare.
Lifeguards should regularly (e.g. every 30 minutes) count the number of bathers in the pool. This count
should be used to select the number of lifeguards required for that bather load. It is recommended that
these counts be documented and used to regularly evaluate lifeguard requirements.
Instructional Programs Supervision
Every Public Aquatic Facility must establish systems to provide effective supervision during instructional
programs. These systems may include:
Defined meeting locations where students meet their instructor;
Procedures to safely guide students out of the pool area after completion of the program;
Supervision practices for instructors designed to provide continuous observation of all students.
Aquatic Instructor to Student Ratios
Facility management must consider patron safety foremost when setting instructor to student ratios.
The instructor must be able to effectively manage the number of students and prevent emergencies.
Some factors to consider include the type of activity and the age and swimming ability of the students.
Incident Tracking and Analysis
Effective injury prevention requires an understanding of what types of injuries may occur and the
circumstances under which the injuries may result. Every public aquatic facility must institute a system
to document and analyse all injuries and rescues that occur in the pool. This data must be used to
evaluate and where appropriate modify emergency procedures, safety systems, staff training or any
other practices that might benefit from this analysis.
Pool Operation
Water Quality
Public Aquatic Facility
Maintaining excellent water quality is a critical component of operating a safe environment for your
patrons. The water quality must protect the health and safety of the users by protecting them from
disease transmission and maintaining balanced water to prevent injury from chemicals in the water.
Good water quality also contributes to protecting the pool and its equipment and the swimmer’s
enjoyment of the pool.
Disinfection and Water Balance
Effective pool disinfection and water balance must be maintained at all times that the public aquatic
facility is open for patrons. These procedures must meet or exceed the minimum standards required in
the Swimming Pool Regulation. The Regulation also stipulates the minimum water testing requirements.
The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has published a standard for the disinfection of water in a
whirlpool which is significantly higher than the minimum required under the Swimming Pool Regulation.
The CDC Standard requires a minimum Free Available Chlorine (FAC) of 4.0 - 5.0 ppm be maintained
in all whirlpools. This standard is a result of research into exposure to Legionella and Pseudomonas
in public pools. The Lifesaving Society recommends that the CDC standard should be used for the
disinfection of all whirlpools and other warm pools.
Pool Water Clarity
The pool water clarity or the visibility of the pool bottom must be evaluated regularly throughout
each day that the facility is in operation. The Swimming Pool Regulation states that “the water in a
filled swimming pool must be sufficiently clear that the pattern of the pool drain can be clearly seen
by a person standing on the edge of the pool at the deep end or that a black disc 150 millimetres in
diameter on a white background, located on the bottom of the pool at its deepest point, is clearly
visible from any point on the deck nine (9) metres away from the disc.
Good bottom visibility is imperative for public safety and cannot be compromised. If there is any doubt
about water clarity, the pool must be closed until the problem is corrected.
Pool Fouling
Every public aquatic facility must develop a procedure to deal with a pool fouling incident. The facility
must follow the requirements of the Provincial Fecal Contamination Management Policy published
by Alberta Health and Wellness. This procedure must be able to provide for the removal of the
contaminating material and provide effective disinfection of the pool. A pool fouling incident may
involve the release of feces, vomit, blood or other organic, potentially infective material into the pool
Measures must be implemented which minimize the probability of a pool fouling incident. Children who
have not been toilet trained must be required to wear a cloth or pool diaper covered by an impermeable
pant with closures that seal around the leg and waist openings. Persons with diarrhea, or who have
had diarrhea in the past two (2) weeks, must be directed to stay out of the pool until they are well.
Pool fouling is a serious concern. Illness involving E. Coli and cryptosporidium have been traced to
exposure in aquatic facilities. The Lifesaving Society website has resources to help aquatic facilities
develop strategies to manage pool fouling incidents.
Mechanical & Chemical Maint.
All facility mechanical systems and chemical handling must be maintained and operated in a manner
which protects the facility users and staff. The standards for these practices must be documented and
followed by all facility staff. Reference sources for these standards include:
Manufacturer directions and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS);
WHMIS regulations and training;
Pool operator manuals and training programs;
Public Aquatic Facility
Pool Operation
Inspection & Testing
Occupational Health and Safety regulations;
Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulation; and
Recommendations from fatality inquiries.
All areas and equipment of the public aquatic facility must be inspected and/or tested on a regular
schedule. The schedule should be designed for the needs of the specific equipment or area of the
pool. This may range from a simple visual inspection to a process to test the safe operation of the
equipment. Tools such as checklists should be used to document the inspection results and insure that
the inspection process is consistent and comprehensive. Any deficiencies identified must be documented
and recommendations for corrective measures identified.
Deficiencies which affect the safe operation of the pool or equipment should be corrected immediately.
If this is not possible, effective steps must be taken to protect users and staff. In some cases it may be
necessary to close the pool or equipment until it can be returned to a safe condition.
Recreational Equipment
All recreational equipment (e.g. waterslides, diving boards) should be inspected daily before public
access is permitted. Equipment in unsafe condition must be closed until repairs can be completed and
Emergency Equipment
Pool emergency equipment must be inspected daily. All equipment must be maintained in a state of
readiness. Any deficient equipment must be repaired or replaced immediately.
Suction Hazards
All pool water outlet covers must be inspected regularly (e.g. monthly) when the pool is in operation.
If any of the pool’s water outlet covers are loose or missing the pool must be closed until the cover is
repaired or replaced.
Note: An outlet is an opening in the pool that can generate suction (e.g. main drain, vacuum fitting or
skimmers). Loose or missing outlet covers have caused fatalities and serious injuries in aquatic facilities.
Regular inspection of these outlets must be established.
Facility staff must not underestimate the power or danger of suction. Outlet cover inspections should be
undertaken with extreme caution to ensure staff safety. The inspection procedure should include:
Shutting down the filter system and ensuring that:
○○ There is no suction in the system;
○○ The system is locked down or supervised to ensure that it is not turned on during the
A diagram of the pool depicting the outlet covers will guide the inspection. Each outlet cover
should be assigned a number to help the accurate recording of inspection results;
A second person should be present as an emergency back-up during the inspection;
Record the inspection results and any remedial action required and completed.
Note: Some pool and whirlpool circulation systems include pool skimmers with equalizer fittings located
in the pool wall below water level. All equalizer fittings must be permanently plugged and disabled so
that there is no possibility that these fittings could create a suction hazard.
Any pool with only one drain must have an anti-entrapment device installed and maintained. Suction
from the main drain in pools with only one drain has caused drownings and serious injury in the past.
An anti-entrapment device can prevent this.
Public Aquatic Facility
Pool Operation
Pool Lighting
Pool lighting should be inspected daily and must be adequate to easily see bathers and hazards. Burned
out bulbs should be replaced immediately.
Emergency lighting should be tested at least once every month.
GFI - Ground Fault Interrupters
All GFIs must be tested at least monthly. Any GFI that fails the test must be disabled and the circuit it
controls removed from use until the GFI can be repaired or replaced.
Safety Systems
Public Aquatic Facility
The public aquatic facility owner must be familiar with all codes and regulations that apply to the
operation of a public aquatic facility. This includes the building code which sets minimum construction
standards for a public pool. Where applicable, relevant information from these standards should be
incorporated into the policies and procedures of the facility and documented in the Facility Operating
Every public aquatic facility must implement a system to control access to the pool and the pool
equipment. This includes providing effective locks, key control procedures and policies for access
control. The pool area must be locked and not accessible to the public at all times when effective
supervision is not available.
Facility Access Control
If the pool is an outdoor pool, it must be enclosed by a fence and gate system that complies with the
Alberta Building Code requirements for a public swimming pool. In summary, the building code requires
that the pool by enclosed by a barrier at least 2.0m in height that prevents unauthorized access to the
pool. The pool gate must be at least 2.0m in height and equipped with a self closing, self latching,
lockable mechanism that is located at least 1.5m above ground level. Consult the building code for the
specific design requirements.
Hazardous areas such as mechanical rooms and chemical storage areas must be locked at all times that
the facility is open or accessible to the public.
Recreational EquipmentWaterslides
Waterslides must be maintained and inspected according to the instructions supplied by the
manufacturer. Controls should be implemented which minimize the risk of collision or injury within the
slide or the landing pool/flume at the bottom of the slide. Examples of controls would be:
A slide attendant controlling the dispatch of sliders;
Signage indicating that the next slider can’t go until the slider ahead has reached the end of the
slide; and
A light which is controlled by a timer or a sensor which is automatically activated when it is safe
for the next slider to go.
Operators should evaluate factors which affect the movement of bathers within the slide (e.g. water
flow rate) and establish appropriate safety standards.
Note: Slider speed can affect the safety of the bathers. Sliding slowly and excessive speed can both
create safety risks.
Diving Boards or Platforms
Minimum standards for safe entries off a diving board or platform are provided in the FINA (Federation
Internationale de Natation Amateur) preferred standard. The latest version of the standard is available
through links at the Lifesaving Society website or in the Alberta Building Code.
The FINA standards were designed to protect skilled competitive divers who are trained and supervised
by diving coaches. Untrained recreational divers may experience a greater level of injury risk than
competitive divers.
Note: Many older pools have diving boards and/or platforms that were installed according to an early
standard and may not be able to meet the current FINA standard. The Lifesaving Society recommends
that all diving board installations comply with the FINA preferred standard. The Lifesaving Society
recommends that diving boards and platforms which cannot meet the current FINA standard should be
removed from use.
Public Aquatic Facility
Safety Systems
Starting Blocks
Starting blocks for swimming competition must be installed and maintained in accordance with the
manufacturers’ directions. Refer to the Swim/Natation Canada rule book for the standard for the use of
starting blocks for swimming competition and practice.
If the starting blocks are available for use by the general public, the Lifesaving Society recommends that
the water depth under and in front of the blocks must meet the FINA standard for a diving platform of
that height.
Other Recreational Equipment
Other recreational equipment such as rope swings or large inflatable structures must be installed and
maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. These installations must be analysed
to identify any hazards or risks and steps taken to control these risks. Where entry from a height is
involved, the FINA Diving standard may be useful for evaluating safe depth requirements.
Recreational Equipment Install
Installation of all recreational equipment must be in compliance with the Alberta Building Code. This
code covers all permanently installed play equipment. The hardware of this equipment should be
corrosion resistant and the design and location approved. The owner/operator must be aware of the
specific regulations governing diving boards and water slide flumes.
Recreational equipment must be installed, maintained and operated in accordance with the
manufacturer’s specifications unless it contravenes the Alberta Building Code. These specifications can
be obtained from either the manufacturer or the distributor of the equipment.
Recreation equipment must not contain any protrusions, means of entanglement or other obstruction
that might cause the entrapment of a bather. All new equipment should be tested by the pool staff and
appropriate rules for use be determined and posted before being released for use.
Public Aquatic Facility
Lifesaving Society Resources
Many resources are available from the Lifesaving Society to assist aquatic facility owners and operators
to evaluate the safety needs of their facility and to develop practices for the safe operation of the
facility. These resources include information about safety standards, training programs, resource
manuals, sample practices, forms and much more. Visit the Safety Management section of the
Lifesaving Society website,, for the most complete and current list and links to
resources from the Society. You can also contact the Lifesaving Society with questions or requests for
Lifesaving Society standards, programs, products and services include:
Lifesaving Society Safety Standards: designed to assist aquatic facility owners and operators in
providing a safe aquatic environment. Includes standards for public facilities, semipublic pools,
wading pools, beaches and private pools.
Lifesaving Society Reference Manuals: examples include Canadian Lifesaving Manual (definitive
lifesaving training reference) and Alert: lifeguarding in action (the lifeguard training reference).
Lifesaving Society Training Programs: Swim for Life Learn to Swim Program - the national
standard for swimming; Canadian Lifesaving Program - lifesaving training including the Bronze
Cross award; National Lifeguard Program - training awards for lifeguards at pools, waterparks,
waterfronts and surf beaches; Lifesaving First Aid - includes CPR, Lifesaving Emergency and
Standard First Aid, Aquatic Emergency Care, Oxygen Administration; and more.
Lifesaving Society Position Statements: formal Society Positions on a variety of topics such as use
of defibrillators by lifeguards and sun protection in aquatic environments.
Risk Management Articles: used to educate facility owners about public safety issues and the
measures they can take to create safe environments and enhance public safety. Sample topics
include: pool color and design, inservice training, facility lighting, lifeguard positioning, suction
hazards, and pool fouling.
Drowning Research: Drowning Reports – analysis of the Society’s annual drowning research.
Public Education: Water Smart® messages about choices to reduce risks in, on and around the
water; Within Arm’s Reach video, brochure and posters; Sudden Impact video, and much more.
Sample forms and tools for developing risk management practices for your facility. Examples
include first aid forms, major incident documentation, EMS telephone scripts, Critical Incident
Stress Management, suggested contents for Aquatic Staff Manual.
Aquatic Safety Management Services: Lifesaving Society services to help you operate a safe
aquatic environment. Includes aquatic safety audits, facility design and operation consulting,
safety standards and expert witness services.
Safety Equipment and Training products: includes spineboards and head immobilizers, barrier
devices such as pocket masks, whistles, rescue tubes, lifeguard clothing, Actar CPR training
manikins and much more.
Note: Visit the Lifesaving Society website to find new resources, products and services that are added
and updated regularly on the website.
The Lifesaving Society Public Aquatic Facility Safety Standards summarizes standards, guidelines and
recommendations from the Lifesaving Society intended to provide guidance for the safe operation of
public aquatic facilities. This guidance is not intended to replace requirements that may be included
in statutes, regulations or guidelines of the Government. Public aquatic facility owners should also
be aware of these government requirements. Information about these requirements and links to
government websites are included in the Safety Management section of the Lifesaving Society website.
Government Resources
Public Aquatic Facility
Other Relevant Resources
Relevant Provincial Government statutes, regulations or guidelines may include:
Alberta Building Code
Fire Regulations
Swimming Pool Regulation of the Public Health Act
Employment Standards Regulation
Occupational Health and Safety Code
Occupiers Liability Act
First Aid Regulation
Working Alone Safely
Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Resources from other organizations such as the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and FINA are
valuable resources to assist aquatic facility owners to evaluate the safety needs of their facilities and to
develop practices for the safe operation of their aquatic facilities. Information about these organizations
and links to their websites are included in the Safety Management section of the Lifesaving Society
Public Aquatic Facility
Alert: lifeguarding in action. Royal Life Saving Society Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;
National Lifeguard Standards. Marianne Paul; Royal Life Saving Society Canada, Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada; 1989
Waterfront Safety Standards. Royal Life Saving Society Alberta and Northwest Territories,
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 1999
Guide to Ontario Public Pool Regulations. Royal Life Saving Society Ontario, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada; 1996
Standard of Practice for Swimming Pools. Government of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta,
Canada; 1985
AR 247/85 Public Health Act Swimming Pool Regulation. Government of Alberta,
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 1985
AR 48/2000 First Aid Regulation. Government of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 2000
Alberta Building Code 1997. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario,
Canada; 1998.
FINA Dimensions for Diving Facilities. Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur
(FINA), Lausanne, Switzerland; 1991
Safety in Swimming Pools. Sports Council Publications, Wetherby, United Kingdom; 1988
Guidelines for Safe Pool Operation. Royal Life Saving Society Australia, North Sydney, New
South Wales, Australia; 1996
WWA Considerations for Operating Safety. World Waterpark Association, Lenexa, Kansas,
USA; 1989
Beach Lifeguarding. Royal Life Saving Society UK, Studley, Warwickshire, United Kingdom,
The Encyclopedia of Aquatic Codes & Standards. National Recreation and Park
Association, Ashburn, Virginia, USA; 1999
Publications of the Lifesaving Society are available from any Branch office. Inquiries from outside
Canada should be directed to the National Office.
Alberta and Northwest Territories Branch
13123 - 156 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5V 1V2
Telephone: (780) 415-1755
Fax: (780) 427-9334
E-mail: [email protected]
Nova Scotia Branch
5516 Spring Garden Road, 4th Floor
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1G6
Telephone: (902) 425-5450
Fax: (902) 425-5606
E-mail: [email protected]
British Columbia & Yukon Branch
112 - 3989 Henning Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5C 6N5
Telephone: (604) 299-5450
Fax: (604) 299-5795
E-mail: [email protected]
Ontario Branch
400 Consumers Road
Toronto, Ontario M2J 1P8
Telephone: (416) 490-8844
Fax: (416) 490-8766
E-mail: [email protected]
Manitoba Branch
#100 - 383 Provencher Boulevard
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 0G9
Telephone: (204) 956-2124
Fax: (204) 944-8546
E-mail: [email protected]
Prince Edward Island Branch
P.O. Box 2411
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 8C1
Telephone: (902) 368-7757
Fax: (902) 368-1593
E-mail: [email protected]
National Office
287 McArthur Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1L 6P3
Telephone: (613) 746-5694
Fax: (613) 746-9929
E-mail: [email protected]
Quebec Branch
4545 Pierre de Coubertin Avenue
Montreal, Quebec H1V 0B2
Telephone: (514) 252-3100 or 1-800-265-3093
Fax: (514) 254-6232
E-mail: [email protected]
New Brunswick Branch
55 Whiting Road, Unit 34
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5Y5
Telephone: (506) 455-5762
Fax: (506) 450-7946
E-mail: [email protected]
Saskatchewan Branch
2224 Smith Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 2P4
Telephone: (306) 780-9255
Fax: (306) 780-9498
E-mail: [email protected]
Newfoundland & Labrador Branch
P.O. Box 8065, Station “A”
St. John’s, Newfoundland A1B 3M9
Telephone: (709) 576-1953
Fax: (709) 738-1475
E-mail: [email protected]
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