Hot Springs Pool July 7 2009 014

The Art of Preventative Lifeguarding

Lifeguarding is one of those jobs that is hard to not bring home after you punch out. In our training we learn to anticipate risky behavior so we can prevent accidents from occurring. This is the primary objective of any lifeguard at any facility. When sitting in the chair, high above the water, lifeguards can effectively scan the pool for potential hazards. However, lifeguards at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center are trained to use much more than just their eyes to keep you and your family safe.

One of the best tools a lifeguard has is their hearing. From an elevated position a lifeguard can see, but also hear what is going on within their predetermined scanning zone. We look and listen for obvious signs of distress, or unsafe behaviors. Lifeguards spend a lot of time asking patrons to please refrain from running on the pool deck. This is generally noticed just from hearing bare feet slap against the wet pool deck. An attentive lifeguard won’t have to see the person running. Running on the pool deck is a dangerous activity that can easily lead to a head, neck, or spinal injury. This is just one example of how a lifeguard must use their senses to keep the facility safe. Another major auditory cue would be the sound of someone coughing up water. This is an immediate attention grabber for any lifeguard. Patrons rarely noticed how attentive lifeguards are to these cues. However, it is essential that our guards are receptive to these auditory cues to keep our community safe.

These safety sensitive concerns travel with the lifeguard throughout their guarding careers, even when they are not working. I often find myself cringing when I see kids running on wet slippery surfaces outside of work, and identifying children based on their ability to swim in certain sections, and or the need to take a swim test. All facilities are different, but here at the Ouray Hot Springs we look for kids that are potentially 6 and under, or 12 and under. We pay special attention to these age groups because they are most likely to need special attention from parents or guards to ensure safety. Children 12 and under must take a swim test and have a wrist band proving they passed before they can play on the obstacle course. Children 6 and under must remain within arm’s reach of a supervising adult (13 or older) at all times.   While walking down Main Street I see kids with swim test bands on. I find myself trying to guess ages and refine my ability to keep the Ouray Community safe.

Lifeguards go through extensive training on how to make saves and provide basic life support. However, all good lifeguards will you that they never want to use their skills. An attentive lifeguard can effectively prevent accidents from happening but when things do go wrong, we are here to help.


Written By: Josh Vincent

Aquatics Coordinator

Jeff Olree Jan 15

Contrary to Popular Belief

There are many who believe that lifeguarding is a laid back easy job, where the employee’s main concern is the quality of their tan. Others may think is it something like the over dramatized scenes from shows such as Baywatch. Here at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, this is far from the truth. The fact is, it takes a very special type of person to be a lifeguard. It takes a person who is willing to put in the effort to master lifesaving skills, which could make a difference in someone’s life. It takes a person that cares about the wellbeing of others, and works hard every day to keep their facility as safe as possible.

Vigilant Lifeguard in Ouray Hot SpringsThe guards at the Ouray Hot springs are not only certified in Lifeguarding and in water rescue skills, they have American Red Cross certifications in CPR, AED, Oxygen Administration, First Aid, and Bloodborne Pathogens. This allows them to provide the best care for all patrons.

lg training 2To maintain this high standard of care, guards are required to attend monthly in-service training’s. During these in-services, guards refine their skills and apply them to countless scenarios in an attempt to be prepared for any situation. This is a lot to ask of any employee, especially ones who are still in high school. But, the guards at the Ouray Hot Springs not only take on this responsibility, they excel at meeting the expectation.  While guarding can be stressful at times, we do try to have some fun. Each summer we hold our Lifeguard Games! This is a fun event where teams of lifeguards compete against each other for bragging rights as Lifeguard Games Champions. The events include things such as Jeopardy style trivia, team rescue races, and other team building activities. The games culminate with the lifeguard relay where each team member completes a leg of the race, ending with completing the obstacle course carrying a guard tube. Along with the Lifeguard Games, we hold several employee movie nights throughout the summer. The movie nights are a relaxing night for the employees to come watch a movie and have the pool all to themselves. We put a giant projection screen on the side of the pool, which allows the guards to watch from the water, creating a truly unique experience.



Lifeguarding is fun! Our guards put in the work and are very well trained and prepared to handle almost any situation. Working at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool is a truly unique and rewarding experience.

Article written by Jeramy Harthan (Aquatics Coordinator)


Lifeguards Working Hard Around Ouray

Since the pool closure the lifeguards have been busy working to keep Ouray in tip top shape.  Currently the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Fitness Center has 5 lifeguards on staff.  These guards are all year-round employees that have committed to coming back and guarding the new facility in the summer.  In the mean time they have been working with Public Works and other city departments to complete tasks that normally would not get done.

OHSP Employee Sherri working on the fence line along the Riverwalk.

OHSP Employee Sherri working on the fence line along the Riverwalk.

In the early fall guards worked on the Box Canyon building.  They did lots of painting and even fixed some of the metal paneling on the roof where it had been damaged from heavy snowfall.  The Box Canyon building and surrounding pavilions have been restored and are looking great.  If you have been climbing in the ice park you may have noticed some of the work that has been done.

The Lifeguards then took to the streets and painted fire hydrants and took inventory of all the signs in town.  These tasks kept the guards busy for about a full week.  But they were eager to move on and start work at the Rotary Park and the on the Riverwalk.

Over at Rotary Park the guards installed new boards to replace the old rotten pieces inside the hockey rink. Once the boards were installed the lifeguards then put on a fresh coat of paint over the entire structure.  Over at the Riverwalk the guards and pool staff worked hard at replacing all of the rotten sections of the fence that runs along the walking trail.  They then took that scrap wood and cut it into pieces to use as fire wood for Rotary Park Ice Rink.

OHSP Employee Chase enjoying working outside on a beautiful fall day.

OHSP Employee Chase enjoying working outside on a beautiful fall day.

On days where working outside was less than ideal a lifeguard would go up to city hall and work on organizing and logging all of the building permits here in town.  A dirty job but someone has to do it.

Now that winter is here and a lot of the work has been done, lifeguards spend their time down at the Ice Rink making and maintaining the ice everyone loves to skate on.  This has been no easy task this season with the high and low temps, snow and rain and generally unpredictable weather we have been experiencing here in town.

Next month we will be writing about what it takes to become a lifeguard and all of the events and activities lifeguards participate in throughout the year.

Article written by Josh Vincent (Lead Life Guard)