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Unsupervised Facility Use May Require Specialized Waivers

Emergency response concerns are a big problem for turnkey operations.

A growing number of U.S. fitness centers are allowing "key access" to their facilities when no professional is present to supervise. Such use creates a number of concerns for facility owners, the biggest of which is emergency response. In the event that emergency response to users may not be possible, facility users need to be made aware of the risks. Standard assumption of risk and/or waiver documents may not be completely sufficient to protect against claims and suits. Therefore, specific facility documents dealing with this issue may be needed. Language like the following may address these issues in those jurisdictions where releases are enforced.

Lack of supervision

"I realize, and have been told by facility personnel, that if I choose to exercise/engage in activity during periods when the facility is not supervised or monitored on a real time basis, that there may be a total inability for anyone to be summoned from on or off the premises of the facility to provide any emergency response to me if I am in need of same - other than through the emergency panic buttons that may be available at the facility, but that may not always be accessed by me in the event of an emergency. Realizing that exercise activities in unsupervised/unmonitored settings increase the risks to me related to the occurrence of adverse events and the provision of timely emergency response, I have determined to engage in such activity anyway, without supervision and/or real time monitoring, and assume all the additional risks related thereto, including the possibility of injury, enhanced injury or greater/more severe injury or even death. I hereby release, discharge and acquit the facility and all of its directors, officers, employees and agents from any claims or causes of action related to my use of the facility and its equipment, and the lack of emergency response or timely emergency response to me if I would need same at unsupervised times, and which is related to the ordinary negligence of those released hereby or anyone else. I hereby expressly assume all such risks."

Lack of AED and/or EMS response

"It is my understanding, and I have been informed, that this facility has installed automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to use in the event of emergency, but that no one may be present to use them in the event of need during unsupervised periods of facility use by me. Instead, facility personnel have told me that public emergency medical services (EMS) are available to provide emergency response service in the event of need during periods of unsupervised use - but only if I, or someone else present during such times, call or summon them and they respond. It is my understanding that an EMS response with an AED may not be as timely as that which might otherwise be provided if an AED were used in the event of need before EMS might arrive at the facility. Despite the fact that an AED may not be available for use during unsupervised times during my use of the facility, I hereby determine to proceed to engage in exercise activity at the facility during such unsupervised times, fully knowing and appreciating the potential risks arising from the non-use of an AED on the premises should I suffer an event that would be responsive to the use of such a device. I understand that the risks include the possibility of injury, enhanced or greater/more severe injury, disability or even death, and hereby release, discharge and acquit the facility and all of its directors, officers, employees and agents from any claims or causes of action related to my use of the facility and its equipment during unsupervised times when the use of an AED or other emergency response may not be available to me if I need same, and which is related to the ordinary negligence of those released hereby or anyone else. I hereby expressly assume all such risks."

Lack of CPR response

"It is my understanding, and I have been informed, that this facility does not have personnel on the premises at all operational times who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). As a consequence, I realize that if I engage in activity during unsupervised times, and if I should suffer some event that would be responsive to CPR, no such response will be forthcoming. I realize and have been told that the facility, in such an event, relies solely on public emergency medical services (EMS) for responding during unsupervised times of facility use. I realize that EMS response times may be, and probably will be, longer than if CPR were available on site at all times. Knowing and appreciating these facts and risks, I have determined to engage in activity on the facility premises during unsupervised times. I understand that the risks include the possibility of injury, enhanced or greater/more severe injury, disability or even death, and release, discharge and acquit the facility and all of its directors, officers, employees and agents from any claims or causes of action related to my use of the facility and its equipment during unsupervised times when the use of CPR or other emergency response may not be available to me, and which is related to the ordinary negligence of those released hereby or anyone else. I hereby expressly assume all such risks."

Check with your lawyer

No clauses should ever be adopted without individual legal advice, and without, for example, consideration of the requirements that may be imposed on facilities by statute or regulation dealing with the provision of CPR and/or an AED program by fitness facilities.
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