Seven children have come close to drowning in Iceland’s swimming pools in the last three years, with the most recent incident occurring last weekend. Insurance company Sjóvá believes lack of security is the cause.
Following these incidents, swimming pool staff has contacted the director of Forvarnarhús, Sjóvá’s accident prevention department, Herdís Storgaard, to tell her about their working conditions, Morgunbladid reports.
“People are telling me that they are often the only members of the pool staff working in their township,” Storgaard said, referring to a case of one lifeguard watching over up to 500 swimmers while tending to other duties.
“Swimming pool safety regulations […] state that there should be one lifeguard at each swimming pool at all times, at smaller pools, that is, which means guests are being guarded 100 percent of the time,” Storgaard added.
Smaller pools are defined as up 50 m long. If the pool is larger, at least two lifeguards should be on watch at the same time.
According to safety regulations, lifeguards are obligated to have completed a course in first aid. If no one with the appropriate skills is available, the pool should be closed.
The townships are responsible for safety in their swimming pools and Storgaard believes supervision needs to be improved to ensure that safety regulations are being observed. Storgaard said she suspected the situation is worse outside the capital region than within it.