Facility managers looking for a program on which to model their own in-service training program need look no farther than Summit on the Park in Canton, Mich. At least, that’s what our judges concluded — each judge gave Canton perfect scores in every category.

“This is the best program I’ve seen in a long time,” observed one judge.

Summit on the Park’s in-service program provides lifeguards with comprehensive training in several areas. Among the facility’s main objectives:

  • CPR:

Lifeguards learn how to protect themselves from environmental hazards, how to properly summon advanced medical care, how to clear and maintain a victim’s airway, and how to use AEDs and oxygen.

  • Surveillance:

All guards must demonstrate an ability to monitor their respective areas through proactive scanning and zone coverage.

  • Communication:

Guards learn how to use proper whistle signals and hand signals to summon other guards.

  • First aid:

Guards practice assessing ailing or injured guests and learn how to provide basic care for heat-related emergencies, musculoskeletal injuries, fainting, seizures, diabetic emergencies and poisonings. Proper incident reporting also is reviewed. Supervisors quiz the guards following each in-service session. The guards must score 80 percent on the test or they’re not paid for the time they spent training.

“We let [guards] learn to make mistakes, and correct themselves,” says Jim McNellis, aquatics specialist at Canton Township Leisure Services. “We try to facilitate an environment where the guards can use their discretion. They [may] approach people, and that helps with public relations.”