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From Mat Luebbers, About.com GuideSeptember 8, 2005
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Having worked at a few facilities where Poseidon is installed, I would like to say that it likely does far more harm than good!
While I could probably give 10+ reasons why Poseidon is problematic, here are just a few:
Firstly, you must understand that Poseidon tends to get fooled quite easily. Despite their claims that it is not fooled by objects in the water or persons pretending to drown, all of the pools and facilities I have worked at which use Poseidon have actually given up recording every alert of Poseidon after filling up entire notebooks with literally thousands of false alarms without a single correct alarm! In addition, during lifeguard training courses, in which professional lifeguard instructors will often fake passive drownings quite realistically, the Poseidon alarm does not go off, while it does go off for kickboards, as well as hula-hoops and lane markers at the bottom of the pool!
Secondly, because of these false alarms, more experienced lifeguards tend to completely ignore the alarms, since, in their own experience, the alarm is always false anyway! This completely eliminates the effectiveness of such a system in that the lifeguards completely ignore the warnings!
Thirdly, it has been my experience that some lifeguards–especially those who are less experienced–tend to be lulled into a false sense of security when Poseidon is supposedly watching their pool. It is not uncommon to see these guards staring at the ceiling or one particular part of the pool for an extended period of time!
Lastly and probably most importantly, the most common lifeguard error I have observed with relation to Poseidon is that it becomes a very significant distraction! When Poseidon goes off, lifeguards typically only want to get rid of the noise, so they simply turn away from the pool to press the “cancel” button a few times (it often does not respond on the first try) in order to get rid of the alarm. During this time, the lifeguard has actually left the pool entirely unguarded. Additionally, these lifeguards usually have no idea where Poseidon was trying to point their attention anyway since the alert disappears as soon as they press cancel enough times to get rid of the alarm!
For these reasons, among others, I highly recommend pool operators find alternative ways to improve pool safety, such as hiring more lifeguards, giving lifeguards more frequent (but not longer!) breaks, and reducing common things that detract from a lifeguard’s surveillance of the pool, such as glare, visual obstructions, and problems getting people’s attention (i.e., if you have a large pool, you might try getting bullhorns).
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