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Member Spotlight: 2018 Safety District of the Year

Carbon Valley Parks and Recreation District

Established in 1983, Carbon Valley Parks and Recreation District (CVPRD) services the communities of Frederick, Firestone, Dacono, and the surrounding areas. The district offers its services through the management of a 50,000 square foot recreation center, which includes extensive, well-equipped aquatics and fitness centers, as well as a second facility that houses its gymnastics senior centers. Through a variety of initiatives, training, and a detailed sense of community, CVPRD’s 181 employees have managed operations with its primary focus on safety and preparation for the future, making them an obvious choice for the CSD Safety District of the Year.

Safety Initiatives

CVPRD stands out among other districts due to their commitment to safety, maintained by their influential, six-person safety committee. Headed by Kathy Lind, the district’s Aquatics, Fitness, and Youth Supervisor, the safety committee promotes and communicates safe work practices by maintaining a comprehensive training program and recommending policies that will ensure the safety of all employees and the communities served.

The committee sets up emergency action plans and is tasked with staff preparedness. In addition, they engage in training and evacuation drills in order to provide the staff with an understanding of how to operate in the event of a real emergency. Lind explains that the drills make the staff more comfortable and function to iron out kinks in their procedures.

“We run through a drill,” Lind says, “and from there we assess if any adjustments need to be taken.”

In addition to drills, the safety committee is heavily involved in a variety of initiatives to better equip and prepare CVPRD in the event of a crisis. A recent overhaul of the district’s safety manual has provided all CVPRD facilities with up-to-date radio codes, procedures for facility checks, and general measures to be taken in the event of hazards such as power outages, tornados, fire, and just about anything else the Colorado climate might throw at them. First-aid supplies have also been centralized and made more accessible for all staff. Lastly, the safety committee brought in outside parties to provide information on what CVPRD does right and what they need to take a closer look at. This includes the hiring of a safety inspector from the local fire department to conduct regular checks of the facility, as well as inviting one of the Pool’s own to perform a facility inspection.

This inspection was completed by Adam Johnsen, Safety Management Consultant, in December 2017. After taking a tour of their facilities to specifically look for potential hazards or issues of concern that need to be updated and improved upon, Adam had a lot to be impressed with.

“They had everything put together very well,” Johnsen said. “Their managers are supportive of safety and listen to everyone’s suggestions. Every area was well organized and I had very little input on things that they could do to improve what they were already doing.”

Johnsen’s visits to CVPRD, and seeing their practices firsthand, were what put them on Johnsen’s radar as a standout safety district. He attended one of their meetings and immediately noticed that their managers seemed very supportive and listened to everyone’s suggestions for improvements. He was particularly impressed with the organization of their storage closets. Inside of each, Johnsen found pictures posted that indicated where every item should be stored and how the storage closets should always look.

“I have actually suggested a couple of their best practices for storage with other districts,” Johnsen says.

CVPRD has also taken advantage of the Safety Grant Program to make purchases to improve safety and security around the facility. This year CVPRD upgraded their current security systems to increase the number of surveillance cameras on hand by five, and they also upgraded eight preexisting cameras to record in high-definition.

“I think [the safety grant program] is a great program and we have used it to improve several aspects of our operations,” Lind says. “It helps with our budget, so we can use our money wisely but still get the best outcome to provide for our patrons and staff. CVPRD is no stranger to utilizing this resource provided by the Pool. In the past, grant money was utilized to purchase locker-room mats, multiple AEDs, including one to be used in training exercises, update first-aid supplies, and to increase the number of locations equipped with first-aid cabinets, bags, and emergency blankets.

Training

CVPRD excels at their commitment to training and keeping their staff educated and informed on procedures and protocol updates. First and foremost, CVPRD is well versed in TargetSolutions training by requiring employees to complete four classes each year. Lind explains that the success of their programs rests on the method in which they are administered.

“Supervisors are responsible for the staff below them to make sure [the courses] are completed,” Lind says. “We try to choose a variety. The staff feels like they are getting a basic knowledge.”

Following the formal training, the next priority is equipping the staff with all the right tools to handle an emergency. This includes certification in CPR and making sure the emergency action plan is available and accessible to all.

“This poses the biggest challenge,” according to Lind, “Because we have so many staff and so many of them are part-time, keeping in constant contact is the hardest thing.”

Regardless, CVPRD does not let the size of their organization get in the way of disseminating information. To achieve this, safety manuals are distributed to all departments, and each department is encouraged to dedicate a portion of their staff meeting to talk about safety. This method of empowering the other departments is key to CVPRD’s success. Lind explained the importance of getting various people involved in their safety processes.

“It can’t just be from leadership, it [has to come] from front-line people,” Lind says. “We sat down and analyzed our biggest needs for the district and how they relate to safety.”

Community

CVPRD maintains that their primary responsibility is to engage the community, enhance life, and encourage play, as denoted by their mission statement. CVPRD operates in one of the fastest growing population areas in Colorado, making the demand for a great facility all the more essential.

“We want people to have fun while they are doing activities, and we want to create that environment for them,” Lind says.

That environment is created not only through all of the aforementioned internal procedures, but through plenty of assistance from various resources in the community. CVPRD collaborates with the local fire department for CPR training, which has created a great relationship with first responders who assist with emergency drills and evacuation processes.

The district has also partnered with the local preschool, SPARK, and operates as their secondary evacuation site in the case of an emergency, and the district has even worked with the Frederick Police department, in conjunction with Longmont SWAT, to train in active-shooter drills. Community, above all, is what keeps CVPRD’s doors open, according to Lind, and the safety of those community members is what keeps them coming back.

“Whether in fitness or swim class, understanding [that] safety and prevention is needed to make sure our patrons are having an overall great experience.”

Regardless of the day to day changes in community, training, or technology provided, the bottom line never changes.

“Safety is always a number one constant in my work here.”

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