Safety first as pools open during holiday weekend

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)  – Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer swimming season, as most public pools open during the holiday weekend. While pools provide a fun way to cool off, people should always keep safety in mind.

On Friday afternoon at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center Waterpark, final preparations are underway for opening day, which is Saturday.

Hannah Grosvenor, the interim aquatics director at the waterpark, is making sure everything is ready for the rush of people expected to show up and enjoy the water.

“Pools are a dangerous place and drownings are not usually what you see on TV. They’re usually silent,” she said, talking about how much emphasis the waterpark puts on safety.

18 lifeguards will patrol the waterpark, but those who run the pools say that’s only one layer of protection.

“Number one thing I would say is supervision,” said Ellen Smith, aquatics coordinator at the Benjamin Harrison YMCA.

Lifeguards will be on duty from the moment the pool opens until the last person has left. However, Smith says pool patrons need to do their part too.

“Drowning doesn’t always look like what you think it’s going to look like. So, if you turn your back for a second, nobody is going to scream and yell, ‘help help.’ You’re underwater like that. So vigilance is critical,” she said.

That means keeping an eye on your child or even older non-swimmers at all times.

“We actually have a rule here that states if your child is not an independent swimmer, whether they’re wearing a life jacket or not, a parent has to be in the water with their child,” said Grosvenor at the JCC.

She also said it’s important to know the signs that someone could be drowning.

“They are silent. They can’t keep their head above the water. You’ll see a lot of underwater movement. They’ll be vertical as opposed to horizontal in the water,” she said.

Not only is the pool a potential problem area, so is the concrete deck. Lifeguards warn pool patrons to take it slow and follow the pool rules.

“There’s always a safety reason behind every rule,” Grosvenor said.

Many Indianapolis park district pools open Memorial Day Weekend too, including:

  • Broad Ripple
  • Brookside
  • Ellenberger
  • Garfield
  • Krannert
  • Northwestway
  • Perry
  • Sahm

The other park pools will open Saturday, June 7.

For more information on pools in the Indianapolis area, click here.

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