A Nevada waterpark is under scrutiny for issues pertaining to its lifeguards, safety procedures and protocols. And its story serves as an important reminder to others on how to properly hire, schedule, train and maintain a strong lifeguard staff.
In May, the Southern Nevada Health District cited Henderson-based Cowabunga Bay for numerous violations after a 5-year-old boy nearly drowned. They included lacking proper water safety signage like emergency procedure signs and "No Diving" signs, which are required by Nevada state law. Then, on June 9 during a routine annual inspection, the health district found that only 8 of the required 17 lifeguards were working. Now, the parents of the boy who nearly drowned are cuing the facility, citing a lack of lifeguards.
As if that's not enough, Cowabunga also had its lifeguards' certifications temporarily suspended because a specific aspect of the training they received from the National Aquatic Safety Co., or NASCO was not recognized by the state of Nevada.
As the Las Vegas-Review Journal reports:
In a letter dated July 16 and addressed to NASCO President John Hunsucker, Nevada's chief medical officer, Dr. Tracey Green, said the state will no longer recognize a section of the company's textbook that teaches the in-water-intervention protocol, known as the Heimlich maneuver, as a way to prevent drowning. It's not based on "relevant scientific literature," Green said.
The ruling quickly was revised, and park was allowed to remain open. It turns out, it only applied to any future certifications, the news agency says.
"After further discussions with the state, it was clarified that the intent of this decision was not to impact current certifications," health district spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said.
Cowabunga officials since have promised to update its training manual to remove the use of the controversial in-water-intervention protocol.
According to the Las Vegas-Review Journal, NASCO's certification also recently was withdrawn in New Jersey because of its inclusion of the in-water intervention protocol but was reinstated in May after removing the technique from its manual. Read More