Illustration by Tim Bobko
 

It was early in my aquatics career, and I was guarding at a well-known resort on a beautiful, hot, sunny day.

Everything seemed fine. Then, all of a sudden, I saw something that made my heart stop: Someone was floating face down in the middle of the pool!

As I quickly assessed the situation and prepared to leap into action, a person came out of nowhere and walked right up to me with a video camera. Right away, I knew what was going on: This was an audit. If only everyone else had known.

Immediately, I blew my whistle, jumped in and swam toward the “victim.” All the while, the man with the camera was yelling

directions. When I got to the “victim” (another auditor) a father said to his son, “Oh, man, is he dead?” My heart just dropped and I became doubly nervous.

So, as I brought the “victim” to the side of the pool, our emergency action plan went into effect. We did OK getting the him out of the water. As I exited the pool, my co-worker had already begun the assessment. Then I put on my gloves and we started going through emergency care.

Just about this time, the paramedics and EMTs came from one of our resort hallways into the open space before getting to the pool. We had our own emergency medical services on the property and it was a short trip to our resort.

There were about three of them with a gurney and trauma bags in hand. One of the duty managers came with them and met the auditors. When the paramedics and EMTs realized what was going on, they were furious at the auditors, and the duty manager had to calm them down. Guests such as the frightened father, who didn’t know what was going on, had to be calmed down as well. The EMTs and paramedics being on scene didn’t help matters.

As it turned out, they weren’t the only ones who thought the drill was real. This part of the resort was almost in a horseshoe shape, with the pool in the center. So anyone within this area could see the pool. A housekeeper had observed the incident playing out and called “911.”

In the end, we passed the audit and tempers simmered. Shortly thereafter, management met with the auditors and came up with a plan to prevent this from happening again.

To this day, I tell the story to aquatic and nonaquatic staff members to illustrate the importance of making sure plans are in place so this kind of training is communicated properly.