Severe Weather/Natural Disaster Event Policy/Procedures
(Pitchfork Aquatics Coaches/Admin will provide announcements via email as often as possible during an event)
When there is a thunderstorm or lightning activity inside an 8 mile radius, or a 30 second flash to bang sequence of the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, the lifeguard staff will clear the pools and pool deck.
In the event that lightning is observed or reported, the stands, pools and pool deck will be immediately cleared. Lifeguards are required to immediately notify the Head Guard when they observe severe weather or lightning. Once the pool deck has been cleared, the area will remain closed until 30 minutes has passed since the last observed or reported lightning strike. Once the all clear has been given by the MPAC lifeguard staff, patrons may re-enter the pool area. The Facility Manager has the final say on whether the pool area should be evacuated or when re-entry will be permitted. Head Guards must call/text the Facility Manager, when the manager is not present at the facility, to inform them when the pool must be closed due to lightning or severe weather.
Steps to take when closing the pool for severe weather:
1. When lightning or severe weather is spotted, the lifeguard in the chair must notify the other staff members.
2. Once it is determined that the pool must be closed, the lifeguard in the chair will stand and blast the air horn for 5 seconds.
a. All Other staff members are required to assist with clearing all patrons off the pool deck
b. The 30 minute countdown starts at the time of the strike
3. Patrons must be moved to the MPAC locker rooms or lobby area.
4. Showers should not be used during storms.
5. Two guards shall remain on the pool deck to monitor patron access and weather conditions.
6. The Head Guard shall notify the front desk of the closure time, anticipated opening time and any updates due to weather.
7. In the case of a dust storm, the same emergency procedure as a lightening sighting and closure will be followed.
8. In weather emergency situations, the deck must be cleared BEFORE the lifeguard staff leaves the pool deck.
Helpful Hint: Lifeguards should personally tell each patron, group, or coach using the pool that there is severe weather in the area and the pool deck must be cleared. Do not rely solely on the air horn blast to clear the pool deck. Whenever possible, if inclement weather is forecasted for the area, it is recommended that the lifeguard staff notify the coaches of the possibility of weather and a resulting closure.
In the event lightning is observed or reports, the pool and pool deck will be evacuated immediately. Once the pool and pool deck are cleared, the area will remain closed until 30 minutes has passed since the last observed lightning strike. If any strike occurs within the 30 minute timeframe, the time will reset and the pool and pool deck are to remain clear for and another 30 minutes. Once the all clear is given, patrons may re-enter the pool and pool deck area. The lifeguards and facility manager will decide whether the pool will be evacuated and when re-entry will be permitted.
Evacuate to center pool deck area, away from dive tower and structures. Clear facility through the northwest exit once the event has ceased.
Announce the impending storm and to seek shelter. Clear the pool deck and advise the patron to seek shelter. Available shelters are the locker rooms, lobby and adjacent parking structures.
Through this system, warnings are given via text message of the impending emergency or danger to the Facility Manager and/or Head Life Guard. Please note that the notifications are given once an emergency is identified inside a 30 mile, 15 mile and 8 mile radius. Updates are not given for every lightning strike within the monitored zones, but rather the first time a radius is breached. An “all clear” notification will be given once the radius has been safe and without danger for 30 minutes from the last strike within the corresponding zone. Of course, if you, or a staff member, notice a lightning strike or inclement weather and a lifeguard has not activated the emergency protocol, please communicate your concern to the closest lifeguard asap. Please ensure that all program related equipment is secured prior to the arrival of the storm.
If there is bad weather approaching, do not leave your swimmers without a ride in case the pool gets closed for the evening. Be mindful and understand that if your swimmer is left without a ride, a staff member will need to wait with your swimmer till a ride arrives.