HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) - Eighty-five workers at the Kroger Aquatic Center spent the past week training and learning how to spot potential problems in the water.
With the help of the Huber Heights Fire Department, lifeguards went through extensive exercises to learn how to recognize and rescue distressed swimmers from the pool and administer CPR and basic first aid.
Last year, a three-year-old drowned at the Aquatic Center on July 4 after he wandered away from his parents.
This year, the center has made some operational changes to ensure the safety of its swimmers.
"We've put a head guard in place that'll be a lifeguard not assigned to one specific area that can walk the entire property and assist our lifeguards as needed, and more importantly, just work with patrons to keep them safe," said Josh Sullenberger, the Executive Director of the Aquatic Center.
About 18 lifeguards are on duty at a given time, serving as the eyes and ears of the pool. However, the center says the responsibility of safety doesn't just lie with the guards.
"I'm a firm believer that it starts with the parents, and our guards are here to support that activity," stressed Sullenberger.
The pool says it's primarily a parent's job to be aware of the environment and watch out for their kids.
"With small children especially, they're very quick, and they're very intrigued, and they're very curious at a place like this, so we need the parents to help keep them close," said Sullenberger.
The pool said they have a policy in place to keep children safe.
The center said kids seven years old and younger who have not passed a swimming test will have to wear red wrist bands signifying that they must be within reach of an adult. Children who are eight to nine years old who haven't passed a swimming test will wear a yellow band, requiring an adult to be near the child. Children who have passed a swimming test will be issued a green wrist band. The pool also requires any child younger than ten years old to be accompanied by an adult.
With fully trained lifeguards and a plan in place, the pool said it's ready to dive into the summer season.
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