Alert defines a minor and major emergency. “The loss of patron supervision, a reduction in facility access or an event that endangers the safety of patrons or staff should be considered when determining the emergency type.
When a minor situation occurs, there is no loss of coverage and patrons are not restricted in their use of the facility. More than one lifeguard/assistant lifeguard may be needed to respond to the situation, but there are enough lifeguards/assistant lifeguards available to provide effective coverage and patrons still have reasonable access to the facility.
When a major situation occurs, coverage is compromised, deficient, or not adequate resulting in reduced or restricted access to areas of the facility or an evacuation of the facility.”
What this means is how the team responds to various situations. If you have, for example, two guards on deck, one on break, and a guard calls for assistance, does the third guard take over the guarding or assist? If this guard takes over the guarding, it’s a minor. If the third guard assists, it’s a major because coverage is lost to a degree. If the pool no longer has sufficient coverage – clear the pool. It is that simple.
There are varying degrees of clearing a pool. They could swim to the side, sit on the edge, stand/sit against the walls, clear out and head to the change rooms.
Remember as well, that guards don't necessarily show up in tandem or one at a time. Two may respond at the start and then are joined by more guards; perhaps the entire team responses together.
This means the team needs to define each role quickly.
When responding to a situation ask yourself, "Is this a major or a minor?"
Then handle it as such.