View Full Version : Question from a fellow lifeguard.

November 30th, 2014, 05:26 PM
I was perusing old topics referencing lifeguards, particularly how they can often be lazy, inattentative, and put patrons safety at risk. I am a lifeguard at LA Fitness in NY and I work 18 hour shifts. The private company that LA contracts out to manage their pools only employs one lifeguard. I am completely by myself for every single shift. My supervisor whom manages over 30 different pools is actually banned from entering the location I work at for assaulting a member a few years back while he was lifeguarding. I literally have to meet him at his car in the parking lot when he comes to deliver chemicals. A major problem with this job is that not only is it a one man operation,I do not have to only lifeguard. I am also entirely in charge of regulating the chemical levels(ph, chlorine, alkalinity), temperature, and general cleaniness of the facility(mopping deck, vacuuming pool floor). Obviously this is highly distracting to my, arguably most important job of surveying the water for swimmers in distress. I would gladly close the pool every time I have to step out(usually at least once an hour every hour of the day) but I am not allowed to and would undoubtedly be fired from the massive amount of complaints LA management would recieve. I also am not even provided with a damn whistle or uniform. I honestly do not see my job as a lifeguard. On paper it is but in practice I am really a pool attendent. In an attempt to save myself from liability in case of an emergency while I am absent I leave the "no lifeguard on duty-swimming prohibited) sign visible all day so technically no one should be swimming at all times during operational hours. Obviously I do not enforce what this sign states so everyone ignores it and swims anyway so I am of course quite dubious as to how well that would hold up in court(my guess-it wouldn't). I just want to ask as a swimmer and paying member of an upstanding establishment, how would you feel if your local lifeguard started kicking you out quite frequently during your daily swims? I imagine you would be quite angry. So please, next time have pity on your lifeguard if he in such a poor position as I am, as not always is it his fault. He may not be provided with the proper support he needs to effectively watch over the patrons.

December 1st, 2014, 12:17 PM
OK Dude ??? 18 hours on duty ??? You should leave this job for all of the swimmers that do enter the water that you cannot watch when you are in the parking lot! Wait till some lawyer gets a hold of you for being in the lot when you are need in the pool as you stated.

December 1st, 2014, 12:25 PM
If I was kicked out of the pool regularly, I'll be having a chat w/ the gym management. Of course, quitting the gym and posting a review is also on the table.

What you described isn't all that uncommon. I worked as a life guard in the 80's at Nassau Inn and Princeton YMCA. Nassau Inn is a hotel and it had given its pool/gym management to Princeton YMCA (so life guards from the Y can get asked to work there). The Inn's pool and gym would only have 1 guard and we'd have to sometimes move dirty towels to the Inn's laundry and exchange them for new towels (typically 1x per shift). We also have to monitor the sign in and gym, locker rooms a little bit too. And test the water, adjust chemical levels, and make adjustments to the water temp, monitor the hot tub, open up the facility and close it. I didn't find it too difficult to go to the bathroom or move towels when nobody's in the pool, we'd post a sign and leave. But then, I was in high school at the time so I probably didn't have to pee so often.

I'm not sure how these types of small pools are run these days, but it wasn't that difficult back when I worked. I do like to guard at the Y more because there's less work but a lot more swimmers.

One perk about Nassau Inn is that I'd invite some friends over every now and then. It was very boring because you can go hours w/o any customers in the pool/gym.

December 1st, 2014, 12:29 PM
At Nassau Inn, the chemicals were stored at the facility. I don't get this going to the parking lot to retrieve chemicals part. However, if I recall right, I maybe add chemicals once or never during my shift as the tests were almost always within the limits.

What was the big pain was cleaning up the facility when working the last shift, you are expected to move all the dirty towels to the laundry and mop the locker rooms. But that wasn't the worst part, the worst part is being scared of ghosts (which I am). Nassau Inn's pool/gym is in a separate building across the street from the main Inn, connected by a 2nd floor walkway. You feel a bit isolated and can get scary when it's dark.

December 1st, 2014, 01:51 PM
There are lots of NY state regulations for pools you'll find if you Google. You should check some of them out to see if your facility is compliant. I looked through this questionaire and it looks like your pool is in violation of a couple of requirements...having two qualified personnel on hand (not necessarily on deck)...so that one can relieve the other; "on duty" (on deck) periods of reasonable length (e.g. 30 min periods); and the supervisor lifegurard (i.e. the boss you say can't come in the facility) having access to the pool.

link - http://www.health.ny.gov/forms/doh-4472.pdf


December 1st, 2014, 02:29 PM
Wait till some lawyer gets a hold of you for being in the lot when you are need in the pool as you stated.

I don't think it's him who has to worry, it's LA Fitness. They've created the unsafe situation. Honestly, this is pretty egregious.

Kurt Dickson
December 1st, 2014, 03:46 PM
None of the LA fitness locations in AZ have a lifeguard. I belong to this and other pools and actually prefer no lifeguard. I was recently kicked out of YMCA pool as lifeguard had not shown up. 1st I have serious doubts if anything happens of many lifeguard's ability to actually save my life, 2nd not sure I should be punished because the lifeguard can't get his ass out of bed. Lifeguards are generally for lawyers and really serve no purpose especially at a LA fitness. LA fitness' never have a gutter so are usually teeming with boogers (I put mine on the deck), sweat, and disgustingness. LA fitness is dangerous (because of coliforms and chloramines causing profuse diarrhea or intractable coughing paroxysms not because there is no lifeguard). It is a last resort for me. 18 hour shifts? My man!

December 1st, 2014, 04:04 PM
I used to belong to LA Fitness here in the Chicago area. Their pool was a disaster. I'm not too sensitive to the presence or absence of lifeguards, but it would be nice to have a human on deck to send people back to the showers when they show up dripping with sweat after their "dry land" workout. While I was a member, they moved from in-house to contracted pool maintenance, and thus lost the ability to correct problems in a timely fashion. Basically, all they could do was call their contractor and wait for him to show up. To make matters worse, it appears their contractor in our area did something which caused flooding of the retail stores on the first floor. That was, thankfully, after I had pried myself from their clutches (http://www.consumeraffairs.com/health_clubs/la_fitness.html). Never again.

December 2nd, 2014, 07:12 AM
My LA Fitness in Pittsburgh has a salt filter. So even though it is a sultry 82 degrees, it's ok breathing because of no chloramines. We have a lifeguard, but I believe that is more county regulation than anything else. The pool is only open in 8 hour shifts, so there is no problem with crazy hours.

December 2nd, 2014, 04:44 PM
My LA fitness pool in southern NJ has no lifeguard - its 3.5' deep and a lifeguard is apparently not required in NJ for pools less than 3.5' deep. I'm not happy about the lack of a lifeguard, and appreciate having at least one other person in the pool (that does not always happen). The pool water quality varies depending upon who is managing the pool - the health department does close them down when water quality requirements aren't met - this happens about 3-5 times per year. I have had problems with high chloramines and chlorine levels burning my sinuses and throat, and I'm not overly sensitive. It's not a good set-up for serious swimming (poor lane lines, no backstroke flags, no gutters, no pace clock, warm water, questionable water quality at times), but I can almost always get an open lane.

December 4th, 2014, 02:27 PM
As a current lifeguard myself, I know that the state of TN requires a certain number of guards according to the size of the deck space. Are you authorized by any lifeguard provider, such as Red Cross or Ellis?

December 5th, 2014, 10:27 AM
I bet the ins. carrier would not like to read that the pool is left unattended!!!