Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Asian Attractions Expo 2009: Waterpark Safety and Lifeguard Training
IAAPA’s Asian Attractions Expo 2009 kicks off Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea, but a special pre-conference IAAPA Safety Institute is set for Tuesday. Yongpom Ho (his friends and colleagues call him “Yohan”) of international aquatic safety consultants Jeff Ellis & Associates will be one of the featured speakers during the daylong seminar.
In the Queue asked Yohan a few questions about waterpark safety as a primer for his presentation next week:
In the Queue: Can you give an example of a waterpark safety topic you will address in your Expo session and explain why it is an important topic in Asia?
Yohan: A key for operators is understanding a lifeguard’s job and what it can and should include, as well as the importance of specific, detailed training. The issue is quality—not quantity—of lifeguards.
Part of what Jeff Ellis & Associates focuses on is how to properly scan the water so lifeguards will see the guest who is in trouble. If the guard does not see the person, then they cannot rescue him.
ITQ: What is the best way for new park developments to ensure a safe environment for the future? Yohan: Safety experts should be involved from the design and blueprint stage to develop a park that can balance aesthetics with safety. For example, lifeguard stations are then placed in the ideal locations, and the safest non-slip materials are chosen for walkways right from the start. If parks don’t do this at the beginning of the design stage, then they may need to spend a lot more money further down the development line to address these fundamental issues.
ITQ: What can guests do to create a safer experience? Yohan: The majority of drownings occur in children ages 3-6. At those ages, the parents often stop watching their children quite as closely, so those kids are most likely to walk away from their parents and become lost in the crowds. Parents might also let siblings watch them, and those brothers or sisters may not be reliable or old enough for that responsibility. That is where lifeguards are most important, and where is it most important to watch the water properly. However, parents still play a huge role; they must teach their children about water safety and monitor their youngsters at all times.
The Asian Attractions Expo IAAPA Safety Institute is included with general conference registration, but space for the special pre-conference program is running out. Please go here if you’d like to attend. You can also register on-site at the COEX Convention & Exhibition Centre Tuesday.