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Part 3 – SwimEye Product Guide

Part 3 – Digital Lifeguarding

The SwimEye concept of adding technology to traditional lifeguarding techniques.

Combining human observation and technology

Drowning detection systems are “digitalising” lifeguarding like never before.  By adding security technology to swimming pools, the leisure industry is now also reconsidering the traditional activities of pool lifeguards.  The technology is not replacing lifeguards but providing a new level of support in the attempt to prevent drowning incidents. 

This is the first major evolution of lifeguarding techniques and equipment, in recent decades.

For this reason, when purchasing a computer vision detection system, SwimEye encourages all clients to adjust their standard lifeguarding procedures and routines, to incorporate our technology.

Together we can increase the safety level of your pool, and improve the workplace conditions and wellbeing of your pool lifeguards.

The combination of traditional lifeguarding + technology is a concept SwimEye has called Digital Lifeguarding.

Adjusting lifeguard routines to incorporate Digital Lifeguarding

When preparing for a system handover, SwimEye reviews the lifeguard staffing numbers at a pool and any existing lifeguard routines.

Generally, lifeguard routines can be different from pool-to-pool, however, we have found four common approaches throughout the world:

  • Lifeguards may be positioned in a tower or raised chair, watching over the pool.
  • Lifeguards may walk a set route around each pool.
  • One lifeguard may be actively stationed in a central control room whilst other lifeguards are positioned in a tower or raised chair, by each pool.
  • One lifeguard may be actively stationed in a central control room whilst other lifeguards walk a set route around each pool.

One commonality is that all lifeguarding routines require focus and attention. This makes the job of a lifeguard quite physically challenging.  Therefore, most lifeguarding routines include a regular rotation with other lifeguards, to incorporate a break period away from the pool.

In close collaboration with pool management, during the handover process, we determine how to adjust the lifeguard routines of each facility to successfully implement the Digital Lifeguarding activities.  This process includes a review of any regional lifeguarding legislation, certifications and any internal training processes.

The outcome is modified lifeguard routines that incorporate regular visits to the Monitoring and Control Station, to perform the Digital Lifeguarding activities. 


The activities of Digital Lifeguarding

As a part of our Training and Handover process, we encourage all pool owners and pool managers to incorporate the Digital Lifeguarding activities into routines of pool lifeguards.

Scan and Observe 

Within a few seconds, lifeguards are able to efficiently Scan and Observe underwater throughout an entire pool or entire aquatic centre.  The Scan and Observe process provides a prompt and immediate view of all swimmers in a pool.

Digital activities at the Monitoring and Control Station:

  • Pause at the Monitoring and Control Station for 20-30 seconds.
  • Scan each of the underwater images, and observe underwater throughout an entire pool.
  • Efficiently supervise the movement of all swimmers from one location.

Click and Check

For more detailed observation of swimmer activities, the Click and Check process provides a closer view of one specific part of a pool.  Lifeguards can zoom in and focus attention on any swimmers that look uncomfortable or tired.

Digital activities at the Monitoring and Control Station:

  • Double click on an individual camera image.
  • The image will “pop up” for a few seconds and provide a larger view.
  • Check the movement of any particular swimmer, who may show advanced signs of distress.

Be Aware and Rescue

The yellow alarm status is an “early warning” that a swimmer might be in the first stages of drowning.

The change of SwimEye from green active status to the early warning – yellow alarm status, can be simple enough to capture the attention of a lifeguard stationed near the Monitoring and Control Station. 

As a result, the lifeguard can potentially identify a drowning and initiate a rescue more than 15 seconds earlier than the full drowning alarm – red alarm status (otherwise known as detection).

This can be a major improvement to the rescue reaction time.

Digital activities at the Monitoring and Control Station:

  • Remain passively Aware of any early warnings – yellow alarm status.
  • Observe and confirm the cause of the any early warnings – yellow alarm status.
  • Click “reset” if a false alarm is occurring, to return SwimEye to green active status.
  • Initiate the rescue procedure as early as possible, if a potential drowning is actually occurring.

    Reset and Learn

    Alarms can be triggered by certain underwater activities or by foreign objects such as underwater rugby goals or aqua-therapy equipment.

    However, some such items can be adopted into the computer vision system and learned; not to cause an alarm.  This is done by clicking the “reset button”.

    With this function, SwimEye can eliminate specific underwater from the computer monitoring, and continue to provide detection throughout the pool (until the next time the system is restarted). 

    This is an effective technique for reducing preventable false alarms.  The reset button can also be used to “cancel” a real false alarm and return SwimEye to the green active status.

    Digital activities at the Monitoring and Control Station:

    • Click “reset” to return SwimEye to green active status, if a false alarm is occurring.

    Deactivate and Supervise

    Certain activities and influences can cause false alarms which can be prevented through small adjustments to lifeguard routines. 

    Examples of activities and influences that can cause preventable false alarms include:

    • Underwater lung capacity training or underwater games,
    • Rapid changes of natural or artificial light,
    • Use of pool cleaning equipment.

    It may, therefore, be necessary to temporarily deactivate a part of the pool to eliminate preventable false alarms.  In such examples, a lifeguard must implement additional focus on the deactivated areas, with direct supervision. 

    However, deactivation should always subject to a risk assessment and approval by the pool manager.

    Digital activities at the Monitoring and Control Station:

    • Identify regular activities that cause preventable false alarms.
    • Click “Deactivate” in part or all of the pool to temporarily deactivate monitoring.
    • Implement additional supervision and focus on deactivated areas.
    • Re-activate SwimEye once the activity has concluded.

    Respond and Rescue

    The SwimEye drowning detection system provides lifeguards with new technical capabilities that can be used to reinforce the drowning rescue and the emergency action plan.

    Underwater images provide lifeguards with very accurate information about a developing drowning situation. This visual information can help lifeguards to coordinate the drowning rescue and emergency action plan.

    The portable radios provide the opportunity for improved communication within the facility, in the event of a drowning rescue, during other emergencies and during normal operating hours.

    It is therefore important, that the facility rescue procedures and emergency action plan are modified to incorporate SwimEye and the principles of Digital Lifeguarding (and taking into account the lifeguard routines and staffing numbers).

    Digital activities at the Monitoring and Control Station:

    • When a drowning detection alarm occurs;
      • One lifeguard checks the pool and prepares to initiate a rescue.
      • One lifeguard moves to the Monitoring and Control Station and prepares to implement the emergency action plan.

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