Oakland County Parks and Recreation lifeguards earn prestigious International Aquatic Safety Award

Recognizing their commitment to training and safety, Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s lifeguard staff earned the Gold International Aquatic Safety Award from Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. for the 2018 season.

Receiving this award demonstrates that Oakland County’s aquatic facilities consistently exceed industry standards in risk management and epitomize aquatic excellence. Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s lifeguard staff has received Ellis & Associates, Inc. International Aquatic Safety Awards for exceptional safety every year since 2010.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation provides more than 100 lifeguards to monitor the aquatic safety of about 200,000 annual visitors at two waterparks and one beach.

The awards are presented based on the results of multiple random unannounced aquatic facility operational safety audits throughout the year. These audits include undercover video surveillance of individual lifeguards, individual and team basic life support and rescue skills, and simulated emergencies. The audit concludes with administrative, supervisory and facility evaluations.

“Oakland County Parks and Recreation operates outstanding aquatics facilities with a keen eye towards safety,” Luke Martinez of Ellis & Associates, Inc. said. “With the top notch leadership of the management team and the amazing lifeguard instructors employed by Oakland County, it is not a surprise to see them achieve this distinction!”

Lifeguards are on staff early June through Labor Day at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford and Groveland Oaks County Park Beach near Holly.

The awards are only given to Ellis clients who score in the top 30 percent of the audit criteria, according to Red Oaks Park Supervisor Matt Pardy.

“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication Oakland County Parks and Recreation lifeguards put into the job every day of the summer. There is a huge amount of responsibility on our lifeguards to keep park visitors safe at both waterparks and the beach,” Pardy said. “Guest safety is a top priority at our aquatic facilities and the award recognizes that commitment.”

OCPR lifeguards receive an initial 24 hours of training that teaches them all lifeguard skills and is a part of the lifeguard applicant screening process. Once hired, the lifeguards receive approximately 27 hours of additional orientation and on-site facility training.

This training is supplemented with four hours of mandatory monthly in-service training, random Vigilance Awareness Training® drills and spot drills where lifeguard skills are tested both in the water and in providing CPR, AED, and Supplemental Oxygen support care.

Additionally, Oakland County Parks and Recreation has all aquatic facility supervisors trained in Model Aquatic Health Code compliant training, including Ellis’ vanGUARD Aquatics Leadership Training.

Founded in 1983, Ellis & Associates, Inc. is an International Aquatic Safety and Risk Management Consulting firm dedicated to the prevention and elimination of drowning. Known for industry firsts and innovations that revolutionized the way a lifeguard protects swimmers, Ellis & Associates provides consulting, training, and education services to more than 600 organizations which operate thousands of aquatic facilities, spanning five continents. Ellis & Associates’ client facilities boast an unmatched safety record due to their commitment to training “test-ready” and accountable lifeguards and voluntarily adhering to safety standards of operation and best practices that are the recognized benchmark in the industry.

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