Feature Article - April 2008
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Life Preservers

Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Aquatic Risk

By Hayli Morrison

The Technology Solution

While it is true that even the most experienced professional will run into circumstances beyond their control at times, it is also true that even the most experienced professional can make mistakes. Technology can provide an extra layer of protection, and thus new gadgets are becoming increasingly visible on the horizon of the aquatics industry. The market currently offers underwater drowning protection systems involving high-tech cameras and an alarm that sounds when a body has not moved in 10 seconds.

"Stress makes us stupid and the brain shuts down," Griffiths said. "Even though we might see a person on the bottom of the pool, it may not really register. We need technology as backup."

Great technological strides have been made in the area of sanitation as well. Automatic chlorinators monitor and regulate pH levels, based on the volume of foot traffic going in and out of the water. Automatic filtration has sensors that determine whether water filters are too dirty. An aquatics facility operator could even set up a wireless connection and voice command connection, complete with cell phone alerts when the pool's filtration or chlorination system is out of balance. Because it allows operators to stay tuned in to water quality issues at all times, regardless of their location, this technology would be ideal for spray park service technicians. However, don't look for technology to replace human operators any time soon, Fruia said.

"My feeling is that you need both," he said. "You need to be able to have an operator who knows how to operate the systems, even if it's an auto-filtration system. And you definitely need to have an auto-chlorinator, even if you have an operator. The monitoring of chlorine is essential, and those things need to be done every hour that the facility is in use."