Several of our clients ask us, “How many guards will my pool need?” The problem is … that’s not always an easy answer. There are several “rules of thumb” in the industry, but the truth is this number varies based on different situations. Several factors impact this requirement, including:
- Size of pool
- Number of people in the pool
- Ability to have double coverage / overlap
- Ability to comply with 10-20 rule
- Blend between high stands, low stands, and roaming guards
- Change in glare throughout the day
- Types of programs / activities
As far as “rule of thumb”, I’ve found the using 1 guard per 1,500 sq. ft. for traditional pools and 1 guard for every 800 sq. ft. of free form pools is a good starting point. But before opening a pool, a detailed plan should be created that confirms the zones are appropriate. This would include verifying blind spots are covered and that guards can respond to emergencies in a reasonable amount of time.
The last piece of the puzzle is break / rotation guards. While everyone agrees that guards need to be rotated and given a break from scanning every so often, the amount of time and frequency of breaks varies greatly around the country. Make sure you include enough guards on your schedule to account for rotations. Depending on the weather and crowds, guards may need more breaks under certain conditions.
To summarize, operators can use rules of thumb and information from neighboring facilities to get an idea of the quantity of guards they will need, but to ensure a safe facility operators need to be ready to adjust on a daily basis.