There’s nothing better than jumping into the water on a hot day, especially when you don’t have to go any farther than your own backyard. Swimming pools are wonderful for unwinding by yourself or for enjoying with your family and friends. Installing safety devices and having pool safety equipment close by in the event of an emergency is an investment in your future.
In Florida, the Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act requires safety devices on new pools. Drowning is the leading cause of death for young children in Florida and, to a lesser extent, for older people. Many states and localities have similar laws.
When the law was signed, Preston de Ibern was present in his wheelchair, but didn’t understand what was happening. When he was five, Preston slipped away from his mother, fell, hit his head and toppled into the water. It took five minutes to find him. He suffered permanent brain damage, leaving him with the mental ability of a six-month-old. McKenzie Merriam was unable to attend the signing. She drowned when she was only eighteen months old.
In these cases and many others, the deaths and injuries were completely preventable. Kids gravitate to pools but don’t understand the possible dangers. Making safety a priority will bring you peace of mind, knowing you’ve done all you can to keep everyone safe.
Safety devices for swimming pools fall into two general categories:
• Preventing kids and others from being able to get into the water
• Safety devices that might be needed in an emergency
Preventing Drowning Deaths and Injuries
In Florida, new swimming pools, spas and hot tubs must be equipped with at least one of the following safety devices:
• A fence or some other type of enclosure
• A safety latch on the door into the enclosure, at least 54″ from the ground
• A safety cover or net preventing someone from falling in the water
• Exit alarms on all doors and windows providing access to swimming pools
• An alarm that would let you know when someone was in the water without your permission or knowledge
A pool’s drain should be covered with a professionally installed anti-entrapment device to protect swimmers from being held underwater by the suction. A properly installed and unbroken drain cover can be a life-saver. Check yours periodically.
A near-drowning victim needs air. The longer the victim goes without air, the greater the chance of brain damage or death. You’ll probably never need these CPR instructions from a doctor, but knowing what to do could save the life of someone you love. Printed and laminated CPR instructions should be posted with emergency numbers, emergency contact information and warning signs in a clearly visible location.
Of course, have someone immediately call 911. The emergency operator will tell you what to do while you’re waiting for help, but the more prepared you are, the better. CPR classes, water safety and first aid classes are offered by the Red Cross and other groups. Home CPR devices are also available.
Routine Safety Drills: Teach children what to do in emergencies and what not to do (such as running on wet concrete or swimming unsupervised). If they have friends over, make sure they know and follow your house rules and are supervised.
Safety and Rescue Equipment
Safety and rescue equipment should be kept visible or in a clearly marked and nearby location. Check it periodically to make sure it’s all still there and in good condition.
Rope and Float Line: A visual reminder that separates the shallow and deep ends
A Life Ring and Hook (Shepherd’s Crook): Used if you need to pull someone to safety
First Aid Kit: Here’s a printable list of everything you might want to have in a first aid kit.
Chlorine and Other Chemicals: Keep chemicals safely secured so a child can’t get into them. Using a reliable maintenance service makes this much easier. Pool Troopers will take care of maintaining your pool for you, eliminating the hassle.
Swimming Lessons: Everyone, even very young children, can learn to swim. It’s fun and one of the best exercises for people of all ages.
You are Your Family’s First Line of Protection
All the safety devices in the world won’t substitute for a responsible adult who’s clearly in charge and enforces safety rules.
Pool Troopers created the National Pool Watcher Program because we believe ‘undistracted pool watchers’ can eliminate preventable pool related accidents involving children. Learn more on our Pool Safety Month Initiative blog here.
Pool Troopers takes the worry out of maintaining your pool, without a contract. We want you to be able to spend your free time enjoying your life and your family, not hauling heavy chemicals. We also offer free use of our salt water system, so you can enjoy all the benefits with the expense.
To learn more contact us today.