KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 16, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Drowning continues to be a leading cause of the death in young children and is completely preventable. Katy families can protect their children and learn from the safety practices used at Katy’s waterpark, Typhoon Texas.
Photo credit: Kaplan PR
A Leading Cause of Death
Eighty-seven children drowned in Texas last year. According to Texas Children’s Hospital more children ages 1-4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects.
Same Safety Practices as Major Theme Parks
Those who survive can end up with serious brain damage and life-long health problems.
Every summer local families flock to Katy’s waterpark, Typhoon Texas. The park opened in 2016 and follows the same premiere water safety standard that major parks like Disney and Universal Studios follow. It’s a practice that Katy families can learn from to keep their families safe.
Any drowning death greatly impacts any community. Such an experience inspired Typhoon Texas Operations Manager, Meg Andrepont to dedicate her life to water safety.
Meg Andrepont grew up in small southern Louisiana town that was rocked to its core when a young child drowned in the community pool. Most community pools don’t use high end training programs like theme parks use because of cost, but after the child’s death the small Louisiana town came together to use Ellis and Associates despite the costs.
Ellis and Associates (EA) is a premiere water safety standard and lifeguard training program. It’s the program that Andrepont practices and even became an instructor for.
“I just wouldn’t feel comfortable working near water if a company didn’t follow EA,” says Meg Andrepont.
Andrepont interviewed with Typhoon Texas before the park opened in 2016 and was prepared to walk if the waterpark wasn’t going to follow EA.
She got the job and all Typhoon Texas lifeguards are EA trained. Andrepont is now Operations Manager and directly oversees water safety and lifeguard training.
A Safety Practice Families Can Apply at Home
Part of the EA training includes the 10/20 scanning practice. The 10 being ten seconds to scan the pool and the 20 being twenty seconds to respond and save someone.
This is a safety practice that Katy families can apply to their community pools and own personal, residential pools.
Katy’s Typhoon Texas employs 200 lifeguards and has around 80 onsite at any given time.
“We do our part to watch but we want parents to watch too,” says Andrepont.
Typhoon Texas welcomes many large groups in the summer such as daycare and church groups. Their private tent is perfect for birthday parties.
“If you are here with a large group make sure you can see everyone in a 10 second glance and be able to reach any of them within 20 seconds,” says Andrepont.
Even with keeping a close eye on the water, people can still find themselves in trouble.
“We enter the water frequently,” says Andrepont.
Katy Magazine conducted this interview at 1:00 p.m. on a Monday and at that time, lifeguards had entered the water six times.
According to Andrepont, the majority of the time a lifeguard gets involved it is check on a struggling swimmer not to actually intervene in a drowning case. The idea is to never get to that point.
Typhoon Texas encourages weak or non-swimmers to wear life jackets.
“We have taken children to get fitted for a jacket when we notice that they aren’t strong swimmers,” says Andrepont.
A child can drown in 20 seconds but through the 10/20 practice, a lifeguard or parent would notice a problem and then have 20 seconds to reach the child.
“Preventable deaths make me sad,” says Andrepont. Typhoon Texas strictly follows EA practices and keeps their lifeguards up on training.
The Joy of a First Job
The waterpark also employs 15-year-olds and serves as many local students first job.
Andrepont grew up in water safety and sees what kind of family it is.
“I see people meet college roommates and spouses,” she says.
Typhoon Texas hires onsite after a successful interview. Andrepont recalls many fun tales of watching young teenage boys, all dressed up in khaki pants and collared shirts run to tell their moms, waiting in the car that they got the job.
Business as Usual
Like many businesses, Typhoon Texas suffered during the pandemic but are now back to operating at full capacity.
Andrepont says that working with bigger numbers has been a learning curve for those hired during the pandemic.
This Saturday the park will host their popular Space Day. In addition to many planned activities at the special event, the usual slides will light up bringing on a different vibe to the park.
As always, Andrepont and Typhoon Texas encourages parents to make sure their children are comfortable in water. One moment can change everything.
Katy Parents Learn from Typhoon Texas
Katy parents don’t have to be specially trained through the Ellis and Associates program, like the lifeguards at Typhoon Texas are to keep their children safe.
By following the 10/20 practice, drownings can be prevented.
Learn more about water safety practices and drowning prevention on Texas Children’s Hospital website.
Learn more about Katy’s premiere waterpark, Typhoon Texas at their website. and don’t forget to thank one of their many lifeguards for keeping everyone safe.