Live AuditsMy first Live Audit was a disaster (at least in my mind), but it was my first week on stand. I had never had inservice (IST) yet, and no one had really prepared me for how Disney does audits/mock situations. Ellis had prepared me for the fact that they did. Other guards had prepared me for the fact that audits didn't happen very often. But neither group really got me to understand how to recognize it was happening.
In Ellis Audit world, if you don't say you are doing something, you didn't do it. So if you don't say, I'm clearing the area, you're not. If you don't point and assign someone to call 911, 911 does not get called. Learn this fact very quickly. You can ask "Did 911 get called?" as many times as you like. No one will answer you during an audit. Just call 911 again. It won't hurt if it has already been called.
Most importantly not calling 911 will be an automatic fail.
So I wasn't prepared for that, but I'm sure you will be. In inservice you'll do situations, and the way you do them in inservice is exactly how you'll do it in a live audit. Also your (better) coordinators will remind things, like "Ellis looks for this, this one time in an Ellis audit, and don't forget to do this in a real situations." No offense to the Contemporary, but I felt that my Inservice trainings at Pop/Art and even All Star were much more informative. After those ISTs I really felt like a rockstar about my lifeguard skills. I'm not sure why that was. I think maybe because a lot of the guards at Contemporary had been Disney lifeguards longer, so they weren't that concerned? The guards at All Star and Pop/Art are a lot younger and most are CPs, so those Coordinators have to be really good at teaching.
Moral of the story? Don't knock Value Resorts. They know their stuff backwards and forwards.
I had 3 In house Live Audits total. In house just means that they are done by Disney, ie. as a practice for an Ellis live audit. I had a spinal at the Contemporary, an unconscious gid (Guest in Distress) at Pop Century, and a chocking baby at Art. Besides the overall confusion of the first audit, I did very well on my live audits. As stressful as the anticipation of an audit is, they really helped my confidence in my guard skills because it shows that you will be able to perform under pressure. (However, the anxiety of anticipation of Ellis audits did contribute to me wanting to get out of lifeguarding sooner)
There was an Ellis audit one day when I was working at Art. I was at Nemo 1 guarding, when the girl at Nemo 2 yelled over "Ellis is here!" That is not something a lifeguard EVER wants to hear. Especially at Nemo. Nemo is typically the pool they would Ellis audit at. I wasn't too concerned though because my bump was supposed to come relatively soon. Then I'd be able to escape to the break room, free from concerns over Ellis audits. I also didn't see any managers on the pool deck. The audit actually ended up being at Mermaid, which was a HUGE surprise. We both heard "3 whistle mermaid" over the radio and were really excited/confused.
One of the girls in the audit said that they could see one of our managers looking at the pool from one of the buildings, so she knew something was up. Both guards did a really good job! Let's just say that was a very exciting day to be at work. Ellis films their live audits, so a few days later the guards/coordinators in the audit got to watch their audit. Personally I think that part sounds a whole lot more unpleasant than the actual audit.
If you've actually been Ellis audited leave me a comment. I'd love to hear about the experience!
Visual AuditVisual Audits are pretty straight forward. Someone watches you on stand for like 10 minutes. They audit you on changing your position every 5 minutes, your attentiveness, your scan in/out, if you're talking on stand, costume, if you saw "I've got your water" etc. I was visual audited quite frequently at Pop and Art, and only once at the Contemporary. There's really not much to say about visual audits. You'll usual know after you've been audited because someone will come to one of the guards and ask for the names of the guards on the different stands.
The biggest concern in visual audits is that you don't get caught having an extended conversation with the other guard on your pool or even with guests. This is not as easy as it sounds. I was audited a lot in winter at Pop. One of those pools is just you and another guard. Sometimes there is NO ONE in your water. Also what you think is a short and sweet conversation with a guest ends up being like 10 minutes. Also lifeguards are in a weird role. Yes, we need to be ever vigilant, but we also need to be friendly and helpful to guests. At the Contemporary we had a guest service tip of the week. They wanted us to go out our way to be friendly, yet still watching our water and getting every VAT. It's a very contradictory role.
I only had one friend who was talked to after a visual audit. The auditor said it didn't look like she was looking where she was pointing when she scanned into her water. One of the managers talked to her about, but basically said not to worry about. They thought she did fine! Also at the Contemporary not all of us actually said "I've got your water" when we scanned in/out, but I guess we still passed.