Young woman standing in front of pool holding a water safety partner sign

Parks & Recreation

Five-star pool: Oasis receives highest ever safety score

Published: 23 Oct 2020 9:52am

The Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre continues to build on its reputation as one of the state’s top pools after receiving a 99 per cent safety score from Royal Life Saving NSW this week.

The pool remains one of only 45 aquatic centres in NSW to achieve a 5 Star Water Safety Partnership with Royal Life Saving NSW – made possible by passing the Aquatic Facility Safety Assessment (AFSA) and demonstrating a strong commitment to safety standards.

After first achieving the coveted five-star rating in 2014, the Oasis team have been steadily improving their AFSA score.

Oasis Aquatics Supervisor Taileigh King said this year’s 99 per cent was their best result to date.

“We’re very proud of our safety rating as we’ve put a lot of time and energy into achieving it,” Ms King said.

“While the assessment isn’t mandatory, Royal Life Saving NSW encourages all aquatic centres to do it every year.

“We take part to ensure we’re maintaining our high safety standards and keeping up-to-date with industry best practice.”

AFSA is a rigorous 40 point aquatic safety check covering general operations, emergency procedures, record keeping, first aid, plant room operations and chemicals, facility design, supervision, programming and specific aquatic areas such as diving towers.

The Oasis team has spent months preparing, improving items that were noted in the previous assessment.

“Our lifeguards and swim teachers always mark very highly, as do our documentation and emergency procedures,” Ms King said.

“The areas we needed to improve from the 2019 report were mainly signage.

“In the last year we’ve replaced about $7000 of signage – adding braille on bathroom entrances, depth markers, and colour labels on the plant room pipes – lots of little things which got us up to 99 per cent.”

The team are closer to achieving their best possible safety result than may first appear.

“We have very few safety improvement plan recommendations left that we’re capable of implementing due to structural limitations – for example, some of our walkways aren’t the recommended two metres wide,” Ms King said.

“Now we’ve achieved this mark, we’ll be working extremely hard to maintain it and address the few recommendations we’re able to fix to reach our maximum possible score next year.”

When asked the difference between a five-star pool and any other pool, Ms King said it came down to design, standards of supervision, dedication to safety, and resources.

“At the Oasis, we have the resources to ensure we’re abiding by the Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations and industry best practice,” Ms King said.

“This pool is a fantastic resource for the local community to have – for example, in ten years of aquatics this is the first pool I’ve ever worked at that’s five-star rated.

“And if you look at the list of five-star pools, most of them are metro-based, so we’re proud to see Wagga Wagga up there with the best.”

Royal Life Saving NSW encourages all NSW schools and the community to seek out swimming pools that have been deemed compliant against the pre-determined aquatic safety criteria and achieved their 5 Star Water Safety status.

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