Swimming lesson risk and emergency planning


As teachers of swimming and water safety, it is important to always be prepared - even for the worst. Developing a risk assessment and emergency plan is crucial to your lesson planning. Creating a plan can help identify gaps in safety procedures and allow you to think about every step without the added pressure of a real emergency. When developing an emergency plan these are some things you should be aware of:


Safety behaviour – teachers should be instructing students during lessons of the emergency procedures, dangerous places and behaviour, where to look for assistance in an emergency etc. Students should be taught emergency procedures and made aware of things like the first aid room, lifeguards and the marshalling area.


It is important to establish a clear set of rules from the outset to help with the efficiency of the lesson as well as safety. Rules such as keeping their heads above water, holding on to the wall, sliding in when entering the pool etc. are all simple ones that can make a big difference to your lesson.


Medical history – It is important to identify all students who have specific medical conditions and needs, and to ensure you have procedures in place to limit risk. Knowing this information will also help you to plan your lessons accordingly to ensure safety at all times and be able to deal with any emergency. Medical history should be made available when the students enrol, and this information should be shared, if you are not aware please speak with your coordinator.


The class – Attendance should be taken at the beginning and end of every class, and then again throughout any emergency procedures. Keeping constant supervision of your class is a skill that requires a lot of attention but is one that will help prevent emergencies and increase efficiency in any emergency procedures, including drills. In all drills and real-life emergencies, the class is your priority. It may be necessary to pass your students to another instructor, so you are able to deal with the emergency, but be sure to never leave students alone even if they are out of the water.

Emergencies can happen despite thorough preparation which is why all emergency procedures should be practiced and performed on a regular basis. This will ensure all staff know their roles and identify needs for updating procedures as rules, regulations or safety needs change.


For more information about risk assessment and emergency planning please refer to the Austswim Teaching Swimming and Water Safety Manual.



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