For the third year in a row, the Skokie Park District's lifeguard staff has been awarded the 5-Star Aquatic Safety Award by Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI), the international leader in aquatic risk management.
The award recognizes district guards' exceptional performance during an unannounced lifeguard safety audit in 2013. Only the top performing agencies nationwide receive 5-Star recognition.
"Even with the cool, rainy weather this past summer, our lifeguards never let their guard down," said Aquatics Supervisor Dave Putziger. "This award shows the hard work and dedication that our staff puts into maintaining their top-level skills."
During a lifeguard audit, SAI staff visit pools and videotape lifeguards while they are posted on their chair, sometimes from an adjacent park or parking lot. They will then announce themselves and observe staff responding to various rescue scenarios, as well a thorough facility walk-through. SAI visits both the Skokie Water Playground and the Devonshire Aquatic Center, three times each summer.
All Skokie Park District lifeguards are given an initial 24-hour lifeguard course and an annual refresher course, as well as four hours each month of in-service training. Random manikin drops and skill testing often take place during the day to ensure lifeguards remain vigilant. The district employed 84 certified lifeguards in 2013.