Staff at Prophetstown State Park pool ready to keep you safe this summer

Now that it's finally starting to feel like summer outside, people are cooling off at the water park at Prophetstown State Park. The aquatics facility can hold up to 700 people at a time.

Posted: Jul 4, 2019 6:32 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Now that it's finally starting to feel like summer outside, people are cooling off at the water park at Prophetstown State Park. The aquatics facility can hold up to 700 people at a time.

"Keeping safety in mind is a big thing around here," said Head Lifeguard Shelby Vedder. "It does get hectic but we love days like that!"

She said they practice their skills often. This helps keep life saving techniques fresh in their mind in case they have to save a swimmer. 

"I highly recommend in-service at least twice a week if not three, we do anything from CPR to back boarding," she said.

She said they even practice how to backboard someone who may get a spinal injury after coming down one of the slides. The lifeguards clear the pool for a 15-minute safety check three times a day. The guards will use this time to practice a skill.

"That's also a great time for parents to make sure everyone in their family is accounted for," said Assistant Property Manger Jacob Shapley. "It also gives our guards a chance to hydrate and take a break."

They have between eight and 10 guards on rotation at any given time. Shapley likes to use a sports analogy to describe a lifeguard's scanning skills.

"The normal football term I learned is your eyes are always on a swivel, heads always looking," he said. "That's the same thing for a lifeguard."

The lifeguards have a designated zone that they watch. Vedder said it's crucial for guards to remain vigilant when on duty. She said they often times see kids jump into areas of the pool where they may not be able to touch. Prophetstown also provides lifejackets for the kiddos who need some help swimming. However, some home-brought floatation devices are not allowed.

"My guards know for sure that we don't allow the inflatable lifejackets just because if they get punctured, they are also not coast guard approved," said Vedder.

The number one thing they are looking out for is a victim who is drowning. People may think that the act of drowning is an obvious one. But often times, it's a silent act that can be hard to detect in a crowded pool.

"When looking for a child or even an adult who's drowning, if their nose or mouth is underwater, that's a big warning sign right there sometimes they can't yell for help," she said. She added that sometimes they can't use their hands or arms to get the attention of a lifeguard either.

A lifeguard's duties also extend to the pool decks. They are looking at patrons for signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration.

"We train in CPR, AED, First Aid, seizure precautions, bee stings, stuff like that and how to handle it," she said. "I always encourage my guards to communicate openly with our patrons so that they know they can come to us if they aren't feeling well."

"I always tell people apply sunscreen early and often stay hydrated, make sure you have enough electrolytes in your body," said Shapley.

Most of all, they want people to have fun in the sun.

"We want everyone to come here, we want everyone to be safe and have a great time," said Shapley.

The Prophetstown State Park pool is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. To learn more about the state park's pool and its guidelines, click here.

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