Monthly Archives

October 2016

Swimming Pool Safety Procedures – Do Not Be Caught Unawares

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Being well-versed in the necessary pool safety procedures could mean the difference between life and death in case of an incident. As a pool owner, it could also help you avoid a lot of legal drama if an incident borne from negligence on your part results in the injury or death of an individual. Swimming is a fun recreational activity for people of all ages and also a fantastic way to maintain bodily fitness and optimum health. However, by not observing the necessary pool safety procedures, you could be signing up for a whole lot of trouble.

There are important swimming pool safety guidelines that every pool owner and/or swimmer should be familiar with. While most of them seem obvious, many of us find ourselves ignoring one or two of these safety procedures, especially those that seem “trivial”. To be on the safe side, the following list of pool safety guidelines should give you an idea of what is expected from both the pool owner and the swimmer in and around the swimming pool area.

  • Invest in good swimming lessons especially for your children. Ensure that they learn the proper way to swim from an early age as this will help them develop their skills significantly and be more proficient swimmers as they grow up thereby minimizing the risk of drowning.
  • Ensure that there is constant supervision from a certified life guard, trainer or adult with good swimming skills. In the event of an emergency, the presence of a supervisor who can navigate the waters quickly enough to access a person in distress could save that person’s life or even prevent any significant injury.
  • Always have the proper pool equipment around the pool area. These include Coast-Guard approved life jackets, life rings attached to long ropes, a fiberglass shepherd pole and a well-equipped first aid kit. Ensure that the supervising adult knows how to use all of the mentioned equipment in order to reduce reaction times and improve chances of survival in case of an emergency.
  • The pool owner should ensure that the poolside area is free from obstacles that might cause the swimmers to trip and fall or cause injuries to themselves in any way. Pool covers should be placed well out of the way and the ropes tied neatly to avoid anyone getting entangled in them.
  • Swimmers should not be allowed to enter the pool from anywhere other than the shallow end. Moreover, if the pool has a depth of 1.5 meters or less, diving should be restricted at all costs.
  • It is the responsibility of the pool owner to ensure that the pool side has a functioning alarm system to alert other swimmers in case of an emergency. These may include a PA system or a bell. Also, the poolside should have a functioning telephone which may be required to dial for emergency services in the event of a pool incident.
  • Pool attendants/supervisors should enforce a strict “No Running” rule around the pool area due to the very slippery surface surrounding the pool.
  • Every pool area should be bordered by an appropriate barrier with lockable entries placed beyond the reach of children. Also, no child should be allowed into the swimming area without adult supervision.

In addition to adhering to these rules and regulations, being well versed in CPR is also advisable as the skills will come in handy in the event of an emergency. Swimming pool owners should also restrict the entry of unsupervised toddlers or intoxicated individuals from the pool for obvious reasons.

Electrically Charged Pools – Know These Lurking Dangers

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Most of us are oblivious to one of the most significant dangers of swimming pools and other recreational artificial bodies of water. Getting electrocuted is the last thing anyone would expect to happen when swimming and as such, when it happens, we are rarely prepared.

Although not a common occurrence, 14 people have lost their lives to electrically charged pools over the last 11 years. Many more have suffered injuries ranging from mild to critically severe as a result of negligence, ignorance or a simple lack of knowledge on all the possible dangers of swimming pools.

Swimming pool electrocutions are extremely dangerous both to the individuals inside the pool and those within the immediate surroundings. This is because when it happens, swimmers become immobilized and worse, they become active conduits for the electric current. As such, rescuers who do not observe the proper procedure often find themselves getting electrocuted as well in their attempt to free the victims, leading to a chain of catastrophic reactions that may very well lead to severe consequences.

How do pool electrocutions occur?

An electrically charged pool may be the result of a pump that hasn’t been properly grounded or faulty/improperly installed pool equipment such as heaters and lights. It can also occur when you use electrical appliances or place extension cords near the pool. When this happens, every metallic surface, nearby puddle of water, and person who is in contact with either of the two becomes a potential electrocution hazard.

In the event of an emergency, it is crucial to be prepared in the following ways:

  • Know exactly where all the circuit breakers are positioned in and around the pool. Your first course of action would be to switch them off immediately the individuals in the pool begin to exhibit any signs of being shocked.
  • Find a non-conductive object to try and get them out of the pool as quickly as possible. It is prudent to own a fiberglass or wooden shepherd’s hook as you can use this to pull the victims to safety without causing harm to yourself
  • Call for emergency services immediately everyone is out of the pool and administer CPR if you know how to. Some victims may be knocked out by the charge and might require first aid to get the water out of their lungs.

Preventative Measures

The most effective way to ensure that no one gets injured or killed in a pool electrocution incident is to ensure that it does not occur in the first place. Here are some of the precautions you should observe to that effect:

  1. Do NOT swim shortly before, during or shortly after a thunderstorm.
  2. Ensure that a qualified electrician who is certified in pool and spa repairs and installation sets up your swimming pool for you.
  3. Junction boxes and electrical wires should be placed at least 5 feet away from the water.
  4. Install GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) on pool appliances such as pumps, heaters, the lights within the pool and any lights within 20 feet of the water as an added measure of protection in case a fault occurs. This device will automatically cut off the power when it detects that it is flowing through an unintended path such as water, a metallic object or any other conductive object. Perform regular tests to ensure that it is functioning at all times.

Always inspect the pool and its surroundings for signs of broken conduits, cracked concrete or stray, high-voltage wires. Pool installers often conduct inspections free of charge so you should not hesitate to call on one when you feel the need to have a professional around to conduct a proper inspection.