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The Fort Wayne Community Schools' Pool
Indiana, USA

The Fort Wayne Community Schools District has installed Poseidon in the Helen P. Brown Natatorium, which serves 4,500 guests per week.

Characteristics of the equipped pool:

  • Rectangular 50m pool X 25 yards,
    with 24 lanes (23 usable with bulkhead)
  • Max. depth: 12.5 feet
  • Min. depth: 4 feet
See larger image

Poseidon Configuration:

Coverage is provided by a series of overlapping cameras:

  • 4 underwater cameras
  • 16 overheads cameras

Fort Wayne Community Schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana is the second largest school district in the state. Its six comprehensive high schools and vocational schools serve more than 32,000 students, covering pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. The district is home to a small teaching pool at North Side High School and the lovely Helen P. Brown Natatorium.

Opened in 1996, the facility rivals that of larger college facilities in size, functionality and aesthetics. Fortunately, the pool isn't exclusively for the student body. It hosts swim classes and open hours for the community at large, as well as regional swim meets. Our mission is to grow our interaction with the community, to live the promise of being a community-oriented district in all of our actitivities, says Dr. Thomas Fowler-Finn, the superintendent of schools since January 1995. The natatorium helps us do just that.

That mission became even more important after an accident in 2000, in which a young student drowned after swim class when he re-entered the closed facility. The incident raised a lot of questions. It caused us to look at our facility as a whole and make significant changes across the board. Fowler-Finn says the school conducted an independent audit at the natatorium and listened to expert recommendations about its entire operation. The audit showed us many things; the optimum number of lifeguards we needed to be able to detect and initiate a rescue within thirty seconds or less; the techniques they should be using to guard swimmers in the pool; and the different ways to manage our entire facility so that it would run smoothly. Ultimately, Fowler-Finn says he wanted to be absolutely sure he had the safest possible pool in the district, and the state. To do that, he decided to install Poseidon.

This system is a marvel of technology. It actually knows what a drowning person looks like, and its accuracy in recognizing victims is above 95 percent. Poseidon is patterned after human behavior, so it intuitively knows what to look for and how and when to alert the lifeguard about an incident. Despite his obvious admiration for the technology, Fowler-Finn does not see Poseidon as an end-all solution for pool safety. It doesn't do the job for you of making sure the pool is completely safe. But it is a critical measure of protection that allows our people to ensure the safety of children and other swimmers in pool. It actually keeps our staff more alert. Our guards now feel they are able to do their job well, because Poseidon makes them more capable as a lifeguard.

Fowler-Finn says approval for the system came quickly. The district school board members voted unanimously for Poseiodn because they understood how urgently it was needed, for the school and the Fort Wayne community. Why should schools that have never had a drowning be interested in Poseidon? Fowler-Finn cautions them that, statistically, a drowning in their own facilities is a very real possibility. The single highest group of drowning victims is made up of males ages 13-17. These people are at your school, using your pool. You must demonstrate to their parents, who entrust you with their care, that you have done everything possible to ensure the safety of their children.

Facility Address:
Helen P. Brown Natatorium
South Side High School
3601 South Calhoun Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46807
Tel: (219) 425-7145

See the press release about the inauguration   
See the Governor's proclamation (PDF format: 348KB) 
See the Mayor's proclamation (PDF format: 281KB)