The Pella Family Aquatic Center was recently certified through Ellis & Associates (E&A), an international firm that provides comprehensive aquatic risk management programs to aquatic facilities around the world. Our facility is the first municipal aquatic center in the state of Iowa to be certified through E&A. With this certification come several minor changes to operations at the Aquatic Center, beginning this summer.
All of our lifeguards must be licensed through E&A and adhere to licensure requirements. We have always been fortunate to have great guards. Our lifeguards will continue what they have always done, which is to be professional lifeguards, serving the public according to the rules set forth by their certifying entity and our facility. New this year, they will all have a standard uniform, which will include City-issued swim apparel, t-shirt, and hat or visor.
Our facilities must also be audited several times annually by E&A staff to prove the skills of our personnel and the safety of our amenities. City staff will not be notified in advance of audits taking place; this is how E&A is able to witness genuine responses to drills and simulations designed to prove the skills and abilities of aquatics staff. Additionally, eight times each month, management will be required to perform Vigilance Awareness Testing (VAT) by placing a manikin in the water within a different guard’s zone to test his/her ability to respond according to E&A’s standard. These audits and tests will be completed when the facilities are open to the public.
One of the most noticeable changes to the public will be mandatory swim tests for all swimmers 12 years old and younger to use the deep end of the main pool. Swimmers are encouraged to stop by the indoor pool to complete this test in advance of the opening of the Aquatic Center as they are able. A daily wristband will indicate to the guards that a swimmer has passed the test. Once the test has been passed, that swimmer will be logged at the admissions office and will not need to retest each time he/she enters the facility. Deep water tests may also be administered to anyone over the age of twelve at staff’s discretion. A wrist band will be given to show the swimmer has passed the test. No flotation devices of any kind can be used.
With any questions regarding these new procedures, residents may contact Administrative Services Director Jenny Hesseltine at email@example.com or by calling 641.628.4173. We look forward to a summer of fun at the Aquatic Center and hope to see you there!