Rotate like a Boss
Do your guards get big mad with late rotators?
Nothing ruins the good vibes of a lifeguard staff like someone consistently rotating late. If a guard rotates two minutes late, not only do they gain two minutes of break, but the guard coming down loses two minutes. Staff harmony is easily restored with a lifeguard rotation timer.
You only have to do this once
How to set-up your rotation timer
There are three modes: clock, stopwatch, and rotation timer. To change modes, hold both the up and down arrows at the same time.
To create a rotation program:
1. Press any button to turn it on.
2. Press SET. The rotation time period will start blinking (top number on the right). Use the up and down arrows to adjust the number to your desired length of time. We recommend 20-minute rotations.
3. Press SET again. The second time period will start blinking (bottom number on the right). Use the up and down arrows to adjust the number to down to zero.
4. Press SET again. The number of rotations will start blinking (number in the bottom left corner). Use the up and down arrows to adjust to the desired number of rounds. For example, we are open 10 hours and rotate on the 20 min. That means we rotate 3 times per hour. 10 hours X 3 rotations per hour = 30 rotations per day/shift. If you have times you are open and closed during a day, you can leave it running all day.
5. Press SET again. The type of alarm beep will start blinking. BH = beep high BL = beep low V= vibrate. Use up and down arrows to change the type until the one(s) you want is blinking. We recommend BH and V.
6. Press SET again. The alarm duration will start blinking. You can choose 1, 2, 5, or 9 seconds in length, using the up and down arrows to scroll through the options until the one you want is blinking. We recommend 2. Five seconds can get annoying.
7. Push SET one final time to exit setup mode. You’re now ready to begin your day's rotation.
8. Press START to begin at the exact beginning of a rotation. For example, on the hour or on the twenty.
The next day, the timer will be ready for you to press start at the beginning of the rotation.
To stop and reset the timer, hold the START button down for three seconds.
4 Keys of Proactive Rotation
Lifeguards have rotated around their facilities for generations; this system must be doing something right. Revolving lets us take turns on break, fights boredom, but most importantly, helps keep high vigilance. As guards, our greatest nightmare is not seeing a child drowning. Proactive rotations are one of the 5 pillars of great scanning.
1. Someone always has visual responsibility for the zone.
In the accompanying image, from Aquatics International, the eye symbol represents who is watching the zone. When you are switching chairs/positions, you say "ok/got it" to trade who is watching the pool, as one comes down and the other up. The zone is always 100% visually covered as one lifeguard has difficulty scanning while climbing down a ladder, etc. Do not walk away until the new guard says "got it" and has started scanning.
2. Pass intelligence to each other when you switch.
You just watched your swimmers for 15/20 minutes. Don't just walk away when relieved by the new guard. Tell them about the hazards they are inheriting. "Sara usually swims ok, but I think she is getting tired. Keep your eye on her; she might need help."
3. Bottom scans on the way in, and way out of chair/position.
Lifeguard Blindness, where a lifeguard won't see something horrible, like a body on the bottom, is real. Before you take over a position or leave one, do a bottom scan. This way you know the zone is clear and won't be responsible for bad things that happened before or after your time at that zone. Check out the video below to see how Ellis guards use hand signals to show their supervisor they are doing a bottom scan while rotating.
4. Use a rotation timer to keep your staff on-time and happy.
It's hard for anyone to keep track of time to the minute all-day. Use a rotation timer to make your staff run like clockwork. Kept in the office, the loud beep and vibration tell the on-break guard it's time to go.
Ellis Guards Rotating
Your facility probably doesn't use the hand motions, but they symbolically tell the supervisor what the guard's eyes and brain are doing. The outward motion shows the guard is "touching" everyone with his eyes. The downward sweep shows a bottom scan is being done.