Pool Safety

Pool Safety

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Safety Guidelines

Pool Safety Guidelines

By communicating these pool tips effectively as well as using common sense, your backyard pool can be a safe and pleasurable experience for children as well as adults.

  • Check local ordinances and codes for safety requirements.
  • Use non-slip materials on the pool deck, diving board and ladders.
  • The steps of the pool ladder should be at least three inches wide, and the ladder should have handrails on both sides small enough for a child to grasp. There should be a ladder at both ends of the pool.
  • Electrical equipment should be installed by a licensed electrician in accordance with local safety codes.
  • Check with a professional pool contractor to be sure the depth is sufficient for a diving board or slide. Always put a slide in a deep area of the pool-- never in shallow water.
  • There should be a fence at least six feet high around all sides of the pool with a locked gate to keep children out when there is no supervision and the fence should be constructed so it is difficult to climb. Lawn furniture, trees and shrubs should not be close enough to provide an easy boost over the fence. Avoid using a side of the house in place of fencing to keep toddlers or pets from wandering into the pool area through an open door or window.
  • Mark water depths conspicuously. Use a safety float line where the bottom slope deepens.
  • Above-ground pools: Install sturdy guard rails around the pool deck. Look for rolled rims on the metal shell to be sure the rims do not present a sharp cutting edge if someone falls. The access ladder to the deck should be sturdy and without protruding bolts or other sharp edges. The access ladder should swing up to prevent children from unauthorized entry or should be easily removable for secure storage away from the pool area.
  • Check the pool and equipment periodically for cleanliness and good maintenance. Cover all sharp edges and protruding bolts; repair rickety or broken ladders and railings. Replace non-slip materials when they wear out.

  • Teach children to float or swim as soon as possible.
  • Always provide competent adult supervision when the pool is in use.
  • No one should ever swim alone.
  • Caution children against showing off and playing rough and explain the dangers of running and diving recklessly.
  • Never push others into the pool.
  • When using water slides, always go feet first.
  • Before diving or sliding, check to be sure that other swimmers are out of the way.
  • Keep rescue devices and first aid supplies near the pool.
  • Teach children what to do in case of emergency. An alarm bell that could summon help would be a good idea.
  • Keep electrical appliances such as radios out of the pool area because of the hazard of electrical shock.
  • Never swim after drinking alcoholic beverages, eating, or taking medications.
Safety for Kids

Cool Kids Know the Pool Rules

A backyard pool can be beneficial for kids. Swimming is not only fun, it is terrific exercise. In addition, a pool can set the scene for hours of quality family time, as well as playtime with friends.

However, having a pool is also a huge responsibility.

If you have a pool, you have a responsibility to safeguard it. There is no substitute for vigilant supervision. But there are additional steps you can and should take — including these:

Always have an adult nearby. Even if you’re a great swimmer, you never know when you might need help.

Set a good example so younger kids know how to behave. The pool is only safe when EVERYONE follows the rules.

Tell an adult if there’s a problem. You don’t want to get hurt, so let an adult take care of it.

Check the water depth. You don’t want to get hurt diving into water that’s too shallow.

Always wear sunscreen. Without it, you could end up with painful sunburn, which can lead to other health problems.

No running! You could slip or trip — hurting not just yourself, but someone else as well.

Put toys away. People might trip over them and hurt themselves. No one wants that!

Barricade the pool completely. Experts recommend a fence of at least four feet tall, with slats close enough together that kids can't squeeze between them. Make sure there are no handholds or footholds for agile climbers.

Secure the gate with a lock. The best gates are self-closing and self-latching. Position the latches well out of reach of children. Install an audible gate alarm that will alert you inside the house if the gate is opened.

Get an in-the-water pool alarm too — one that will alert you if anyone jumps or falls in the pool

In your home, secure doors and windows leading to the pool, so kids don't have access from inside the house.

Keep potential "step stools" away from the fence. That means storing patio chairs, planters, and other climbable items away from your outside perimeter.

Make sure your child learns how to swim, but never assume that he or she is safe in the water alone. Many parents overestimate their children's swimming competencies. Always, always supervise.

Never leave the pool cover partially on when kids are swimming, because they might become trapped under it.

Remove pool steps and ladders when you're not using them.

Keep a house phone or cell phone nearby when supervising kids in the pool. This way, you won't be tempted to leave the kids to answer the phone, and you can call for help if needed. Post emergency numbers close at hand.

Learn CPR. If anyone else will be supervising kids in the pool, make sure they learn it, too. Impress upon babysitters that they must follow your safety rules.

Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

Adhere to strict diving rules. (Diving accidents can result in life-long injuries.) Never allow diving in above-ground pools, which are too shallow for safety. If you do have an in-ground pool, allow diving only from the diving board, not the sides of the pool.

Be safe and have fun!

Read more: Great pool games for kids

Pool Safety Equipment

Pool Safety Equipment

There are many products that can be added to your backyard pool area when considering pool safety. Whether you are protecting your young children, older adults or even your pets, keeping your backyard up to date with the latest safety features is of the utmost importance. Here are a few products that you may want to consider:

Pool Fences

Pool fences are one of the more common ways to ensure safety and are usually gate-locked and childproof. Many pool fences are designed for ease of use and restrict the occurrence of broken or sticking hinges and mechanisms. Alternatively, a temporary and removable pool fence can also be used to be set up only whenever children visit the household; though, a more permanent fence is recommended.

Four-Sided Isolation Fences

A four-sided isolation fence is the best barrier as it completely surrounds the pool or spa. It is different from a property line or “perimeter” fence that keeps neighbors’ children from accessing your pool. Isolation fencing separates swimming pools or spas from the house. They are specially designed so that children cannot easily get over, under, or through them. Code compliant pool fences can be built from many different materials, but some are better suited to the task than others.

Aluminum Fences

Aluminum is a lightweight, low maintenance fencing material that is an excellent choice for pool fencing because of its physical attributes; it is strong and will not rust.

Steel Fences

Steel is a sturdy fencing material that is a popular option for pool fencing. The look and feel of steel fencing closely matches that of aluminum, but it is heavier and stronger. When choosing steel fencing, make sure to choose a product with a high quality coating that will protect your fence from rust.

Wood Fences

Wood can be used to make a secure pool fence in either picket style or privacy style. Wood is relatively inexpensive when compared to aluminum, composite, and steel fencing. However, wood is higher maintenance than other materials, requiring periodic painting or staining.

Composite Fences

Composite fences feature the look and feel of natural wood but without the maintenance. A premium fence material, composites not only offer protection, but can enhance the visual appeal of your property. Composite fences are a component system created from boards, rails, and posts, so they can be designed to meet local and national pool codes.

Chain Link Fences

Chain Link is an extremely affordable, low maintenance fence material. Made from galvanized steel tubing and a mesh of steel wire, chain link is strong, durable, and secure. Chain link can also be an effective privacy fence with the addition of privacy slats. One drawback of chain link fence is its industrial look and feel, which may be an issue if you are looking for a pool fence that also adds to the visual appeal of your property.

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl is an attractive, low maintenance fencing material that comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. Slightly more expensive than wood, vinyl fence eliminates the need for staining and painting, and has a long life span.

Perimeter Fences

Perimeter fencing encloses a backyard pool but allows ready access through the house. It is better than no fencing for risk reduction, but children usually have no problem letting themselves into a backyard from the house interior. If you choose to install perimeter fencing, you should also have an alarm on the door in case a small child gains access to the pool area without adult supervision.

Removable Pool Fencing

Removable Pool Fencing is a popular choice of many pool owners. This fence, made of mesh material, is left in place when there is a possibility of access to the swimming pool by young children, but removed when adults are present or for parties. It can be rolled up and stored away during occasions when a barrier is not needed. This mesh fencing has a “transparent” nature allowing you to have a clear view of the pool at all times. The only drawback to having this type of fencing is that it does not meet compliance codes for backyard safety in all areas. A pool professional can provide information for your specific area.

Pool Safety Nets

Pool safety nets provide a safe, secure barrier while maximizing the available backyard space and preserving the view and ambience of the swimming pool area.

The size of the net's squares are the foundation of its safety pontential. The squares are small enough that children can't fall through, but too big to walk or stand on. One adult can remove or replace a typical swimming pool net in just a few minutes. A series of pulleys is built into the center of the pool net. By loosening the pulley rope, the tension is released and the pool net is easily removed. Just unhook the clips and roll the pool net onto the portable roller. Simply reverse this process to place the pool net back onto the pool. The safety pool net utilizes custom hooks and flush brass anchors in the deck to secure the net.

As with all safety barriers the net is only to be used as deterrent and the child should never be left alone near the pool.

Swimming pool nets provide an excellent barrier for small or confined areas. Finding a cover for uniquely shaped pools with rocks, waterfalls, raised planters, etc, can often be prohibitive, but they usually pose no problem for pool nets.

A swimming pool net has several advantages over pool fences. Children cannot climb over or under a net pool cover like they may be able to with some fences. If unwanted pool entry by older children who may be able to gain access even though a fence is in place is a concern, a pool net can be a viable solution. A swimming pool net can be removed in about 5 minutes and replaced in 5 to 10 minutes.

Safety Pool Covers

One of the most crucial safety devices that a pool owner should have is a safety pool cover. Note that a winter pool cover and solar pool covers are NOT safety covers. To be a safety pool cover, it is required that a pool cover be able to hold a minimum of 485 pounds per five square feet. Safety covers come in two varieties – mesh and solid. Both types of safety covers are anchored to a deck with straps that pull the cover taut over the pool; the straps usually attach to stainless steel springs and are anchored to recessed brackets in a deck surface. When the cover is removed, deck brackets that are not already flush with the deck can be screwed down to prevent tripping or toe-stubbing. Because the straps need to be anchored down, mesh covers generally require at least two to three feet of decking all around the pool. There are a variety of deck anchors for all types of decking material including, but not limited to, concrete, brick, asphalt, earth, and wood.

Mesh Safety Pool Covers

Mesh safety pool covers are designed for long-term use, such as when closing swimming pools for winter. Mesh safety pool covers require little maintenance because debris that lands on them blows off the top, and rain and snow drain through the mesh panels; however, with the screen-like material of mesh, some silt and dirt may get through the webbing. On the other hand, because puddles cannot accumulate on the surface, having a mesh-style safety pool cover eliminates the risk of toddlers or pets unexpectedly coming in contact with shallow water.

Solid Safety Pool Covers

Solid safety pool covers work similarly to mesh covers in that they can be secured to a deck by anchors. Solid safety pool covers may not be best for use in areas that receive heavy rain or snowfall. Unlike mesh covers that allow water to drain through the cover, precipitation can accumulate on a solid cover, creating a puddle of water over the pool. The collected water may tend to sag the cover and present a hazard to any small children or pets who, if unsupervised, wander onto to pool cover. To combat this problem, some manufacturers incorporate drain panels into solid vinyl covers. Small cover pumps that automatically pump water off the cover as soon as it is detected may also be used.

Pool Alarms

There are many different types of pool alarms to consider depending on your budget, type of pool, and technical requirements. Remember that pool alarms are one tool that will help to make your swimming area safer. Parental guidance and vigilance are primary in ensuring pool safety.

Gate Alarms

Gate alarms are mounted directly on your pool’s gate with two magnetic switches. These alarms, which are battery powered, activate when the gate is opened and the electrical field is broken. There is an override button that can be pressed by an adult to allow them to pass through without sounding the alarm. Gate alarms are designed for outdoor use, come in many different sizes, are inexpensive, and easy to install.

Door Alarms

Door alarms are designed for swimming pools that include the house in some part of their entire perimeter. When the door is opened an audible alarm sounds. These alarms, which are turned on and off using a key or a keypad, are either battery powered or use the home’s current. They are affordable; easy to install, and provide a warning if the door is opened. They are also useful in detecting intruders.

Window Alarms

As with door alarms, window alarms are used if the house is included in some part of or in the entire perimeter of the pool. When the window is opened, an audible alarm sounds. These alarms, which are turned on and off using a key or a keypad, are either battery powered or use the home’s current. They are affordable, easy to install, and provide a warning if the window is opened.

Perimeter Alarms

Perimeter alarms use laser or infrared light, forming an unbroken beam of light around the swimming pool’s perimeter. When someone entering the perimeter breaks the beam, the alarm sounds. Alarm beams are positioned 12 to 24 inches above ground level and should be adjusted according to your child’s height. These devices, which are the most expensive on the market, give total perimeter protection at a set height. Disadvantages are that the set height may not suit visiting children and that the alarm will activate if one of the pool’s perimeter alarms is inadvertently hit, moved, or covered.

Wrist Alarms

Wrist alarms are the latest in water safety. They may be used at the pool or even in a boat. These waterproof devices are key locked securely onto your child’s wrist and communicate via a base station. When the wrist alarm is immersed in water the station alarm is activated. Base units and wrist alarms are purchased separately, which means you may have numerous wrist alarms for one base station.

Floating/Wave Sensors

Floating/wave sensors are mounted on the edge of the pool or in the pool. They are key activated, battery powered, and portable. Generally these alarms sense water displacement when an object weighing more than fifteen pounds enters the pool. When this occurs, a signal is sent to a remote receiver which is either in the home or carried by the adult. The receiver emits an alarm of approximately 85 decibels. These alarms can be used with pool covers or solar blankets and have an adjustment that can reduce their sensitivity.

Fence/Wall Mounted Passive Infrared Motion Detectors

Fence/wall mounted passive infrared motion detectors are an all-weather designed system and may be mounted on a pool fence or wall. They can also be installed in a spa, patio, or garage. They protect an 8-yard semi-circular area by emitting a 110-decibel alarm that can be heard up to 50 yards away. These alarms, which are most effective when mounted on a pool fence or wall, are armed one minute after being switched on and possess a 5 second entry delay feature which prevents the device from going off immediately after it’s been activated. Unique features include both a movement and heat sensitive sensor that can only be activated by a small child or animal when performing movements and emitting body heat within its patrol range.

Pool Mounted Passive Infrared Motion Detectors

Pool mounted passive infrared motion detectors combine all of the important features found in other devices and are very affordable. Each unit simultaneously detects both motion and heat of anyone passing by and will not give any false readings for inanimate objects. With this device, a perimeter fence is not an integral part of the system as it is with most other systems. This key operated unit runs on batteries or a DC power adapter and has a 24-hour warning signal for low battery power. With a 110-decibel micro siren this is also the loudest alarm on the market and can be heard 50-yards away. These alarms cover an 8.5-yard radius and a 150-degree area.

Above Ground Pool Alarms

Above Ground Pool Alarms use a new sensing method that requires no adjustments and is designed to detect intrusions similar to a 1 year-old child weighing 18 pounds and up. The alarm is activated with an on/off key - simply remove the key to turn the alarm on. Entry into the pool by children, pets, or intruders is detected by the unit's electronic sensor, and sets off a loud, pulsating alarm both in the home and at the pool. The in-house remote receiver has a range up to 200 ft., and comes with a 12-volt power supply. Safe, simple, and easy to operate, the alarm snaps onto the top rail of your above ground pool. To store your alarm while using the pool, snap it on the outside of the pool.

Anti-Entrapment Equipment

Suction entrapment can occur when a swimmer gets pulled down by the suction of a pool or hot tub drain. If this happens, the victim can get their hair, limbs, or other body parts trapped and pulled toward the drain.

A Safety Vacuum Release System — or SVRS for short — is an automatic suction force release system. When a drain becomes blocked, the SVRS provides a rapid vacuum release. This quickly frees anyone whose body or limb is trapped on the drain. An SVRS works whether or not there is a cover on the drain, and does not interfere with the pump function. Once installed, an SVRS requires little or no maintenance. It is recommended to have a pool professional install the SVRS.

A pool safety drain cover works to prevent the powerful suction of a pool drain from making a complete seal that could trap a person's body against the drain, or entangle hair. Safety drains cover the main drain of a pool, which is the suction outlet at the bottom or side of a pool that conducts water to a recirculating pump.  For more information about the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act and preventing entrapment, visit http://www.poolsafely.gov/pool-spa-safety-act/.

General Pool Safety Products

With the right swimming pool safety products, you can reduce the risks and dangers inherent to swimming pools and, at the same time, make your pool environment a more enjoyable place for everyone.

  • Swimming pool and hot tub hand rails and stair rails provide an extra protection against slipping on stairs and steps.

  • Pool signs and depth markers are also extremely important to have in the pool area. These pool depth markers can be applied to vinyl, ceramic tile and tempered glass overlays. Signs that should be in your pool area can include “No Jumping”, “No Diving, Shallow Water” and “Slippery When Wet”.

  • You should also have basic safety equipment available such as lifesaver rings and a Shepherd’s Crook.

Above Ground Pool Safety

Above Ground Pool Safety

Pool safety guidelines are just as important for above ground pools as they are for inground pools. Here are a few pool safety products for above ground pools:

Fencing

Above ground pools should have a fence barrier installed around the top edge of the pool and along the stairway leading up to the swim platform. The stairs to the above ground pool should also be gated if they are not retractable. Above ground pool fences, generally constructed of resin, will not only enhance the look of your swimming pool, but also will improve safety. They are easy to install and can it can be done by a homeowner or a swimming pool professional. In addition to making your pool area a safe environment for children, elderly, pets and wildlife, accessories can be added to the pool fence such as solar pool lighting.

Ladders and Steps

For above ground pools, a fence and/or a pull up and locking ladder are musts. The ladder must be installed properly and checked regularly to make certain it is still firmly attached. Swimming pool hand rails and stair rails provide an extra protection against slipping on stairs and steps. There are a few options available for entry into your above ground swimming pool. The choice that you make will depend on your particular needs and design preferences. You can choose from simple A-frame ladders to grand entrance drop in steps. There should also be no walking around, or sitting on the edge of the pool; falling off and hitting the ground can cause injuries and sitting on the sides could cause the pool to collapse. 

Pool Alarms

Above ground pool alarms are also a great safety product. Above ground pool alarms use a new sensing method that requires no adjustments and is designed to detect intrusions similar to a 1- year old child weighing 18 pounds and up. The alarm is activated with an on/off key - simply remove the key to turn the alarm on. Entry into the pool by children, pets, or intruders is detected by the unit's electronic sensor, and sets off a loud, pulsating alarm both in the home and at the pool. The in-house remote receiver has a range up to 200 ft., and comes with a 12-volt power supply. Safe, simple, and easy to operate, the alarm snaps onto the top rail of your above ground pool. Different models are available for above ground swimming pools including both surface and subsurface wave detection. To store your alarm while using the pool, snap it on the outside of the pool.

Signs and Equipment

Pool signs and depth markers are also extremely important to have in the pool area. These pool depth markers can be applied to vinyl, ceramic tile and tempered glass overlays. Signs that should be in your pool area can include “No Jumping”, “No Diving, Shallow Water” and “Slippery When Wet”.

You should also have basic safety equipment available such as lifesaver rings and a Shepherd’s Crook.

 

Hot Tub Safety

Hot Tub Safety

A Few Simple Rules To Keep Your Hot Tub Safe and Worry-Free:

Keep Your Head Above Water

Spas are equipped with drains and pumps that can create a powerful suction. And though today’s spas are designed to minimize the risk, it is possible for hair to become tangled in the drain — keeping your head under water. To ensure your safety in the spa, keep you head above water and wear long hair up.

Always Accompany Children!

Children should be watched carefully by an adult in any water situation, but the suction in your hot tub means you need to be even more vigilant. This is especially true when small children are in the spa. For the safest experience for your child, join them in the hot tub — and make sure to keep it securely covered when you’re not around.

Turn Down the Heat

As tempting as it is to crank up the heat in your spa, soaking in too high a temperature for too long can raise your body heat to dangerous levels. The maximum safe soaking temperature is 100° to 102° — and only for about 15 minutes. If you like to spend more time in your spa, turn the heat down even more.

Check with Your Doctor

Pregnant women, and people with heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure and other serious illnesses should check with their physician before entering a spa.

Keep It Clean

Warm water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms, so it’s important to keep hot tub water clean, sanitized and chemically balanced to avoid the risk of infection.

Watch the Alcohol

While the idea of relaxing in the hot tub while sipping a glass of wine or cold beer might sound fantastic, it’s important to know that hot water can amplify the effects of alcohol. The same can be true for some prescription drugs. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor about any prescription drugs you’re taking, and consider trading the wine and beer for juice and sparkling water.

Bring a Buddy

Share a hot tub with someone else! You can ensure each other’s safety and enjoy the experience even more.

PLEASE NOTE: The safety tips listed above are provided as a tool to help you, your family, and guests enjoy a safe water environment. They are not intended as an exclusive reference for those using a residential swimming area or as a substitute for professional advice. Please refer to a qualified pool expert regarding proper safety installation and operation of your pool or hot tub as well as safety measures and equipment.

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Safety for Pets

Pool Safety Tips for Pets

There are some basic rules you can follow to prevent tragedy when pets are around the family pool. First, your pet should always be taught where the steps in the pool are located, in case he falls in or gets in trouble while swimming. Even pets that are experienced swimmers can sometimes panic if they accidentally fall in the swimming pool. Pets that are too small to use steps should not be allowed in the pool.

Here are some other helpful strategies for keeping your pet safe:

  • A fence should be installed around the pool.

  • Install a pet-safe ladder in the pool so your pet has easy exit access.

  • Pets should not be allowed around the pool without supervision.

  • Pool covers are NOT a form of protection. Covers can be deceptive to pets, as they look like a solid surface but can give out and lead to a tragedy.

  • Familiarize your pet with water at a young age; don’t assume he can swim.

  • Consider purchasing a pool alarm system. These float in the pool and go off when there is a disturbance in the water.

  • Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if a water injury occurs.

Sun Exposure Safety

Sun Exposure Safety

While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression. Children are particularly at risk. Most people are not aware that skin cancer, while largely preventable, is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million cases are reported annually. By following some simple steps, you can still enjoy your time in the sun and protect yourself from overexposure.

Generously apply sunscreen

Use about one ounce to cover all exposed skin 20 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a SPF of at least 15 and provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours – even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating.

Do not burn

Sunburns significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.

Wear protective clothing

Wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will prevent too much sun exposure.

Seek shade

Seek shade whenever possible and remember that the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm.

Use Extra Caution

Be sure to use extra caution when near water, snow and sand. These elements reflect the rays of the sun and increase the chance of sunburn.

Check the UV index

Be sure to check the UV index issued by the National Weather Service. It provides important information to help you plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun exposure.

UV Ratings and What the Numbers Mean to You

The UV index is an international standard measurement of how strong the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is at a particular place on a particular day. It is a scale primarily used in daily forecasts aimed at the general public. Developed by the National Weather Service and EPA, it indicates the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high). You can use the UV Index to take appropriate sun-protective behaviors and avoid overexposure to UV radiation.

Below are the precautions you should take provided the UV Index number:

Maintenance Safety

Maintenance Safety

When maintaining your pool, it is always important to remember to be safe, especially when handling chemicals. You also want to be sure to safeguard your friends and family as well as protect your property, and using common sense is a key factor in pool safety. Here are a few tips:

An aspect of pool ownership that needs to be monitored is the maintenance of pool pumps, filters and other mechanical parts. These pool devices are electric and can cause injury or death if not used carefully.

Never use extension cords around a pool or spa.

Never enter the water when a utility pump is running.

Never put an aluminum vacuum handle into the pool.

Never swim in your pool or hot tub during an electrical storm.

Pool chemicals and chlorine should be stored in a locked area and kept out of the reach of children and pets.

Everyone who owns a pool knows that it needs care and maintenance. One of the major things is that a non-treated and improperly cared for pool can be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects that can carry diseases to your family.

Also, if you do not keep up with your pool cleaning and maintenance, the water could become a breeding ground for bacteria and algae that could make your family ill if it is ingested or gets into the skin through an open wound.

Some pool tragedies occur when people are trapped by suction drains. To help keep that from happening, never use a pool or hot tub with a missing or broken drain cover. You can install a Safety Vacuum Release System that can automatically shut off the pump if a drain gets blocked. Get your pool inspected on a regular basis by a professional who can pinpoint possible hazards. Plainly mark the cut-off switch for the pool pump and make sure everyone knows to hit the switch as soon as someone is trapped. Because many entrapment incidents involve hair getting trapped in a drain, keep long hair away from the suction fitting drain cover. Pin up long hair or wear a swim cap.

Chemicals

Pool and hot tub chemicals can cause chemical burns if mishandled. They may also present a health hazard if inhaled. Proper safety precautions must be followed at all times. Pool chemicals are meant to be dissolved in large quantities of water. If they are mixed with small amounts of water or mixed improperly, the reaction may cause injuries, dangerous vapors, or damage to property in the form of a fire. Certain chemicals used in swimming pools will break down over time, even if they are kept dry, with negative consequences.

Care should be taken when storing pool chemicals to avoid spilling on the pool deck or the ground. You need to be mindful of the environmental consequences of choosing to use these products, and you don't want them contaminating the soil or the ground water.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on all packaging carefully. Be familiar with emergency procedures, so that in the event of a chemical spill or accident, you will be able to act quickly.

Storing Chemicals

  • Keep chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

  • Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

  • Store in their original containers. Do not use contents of unlabeled containers.

  • Containers should always be kept closed when not in use.

  • Be sure storage area is well ventilated.

  • Never store oxidizers and acid near each other. Oxidizers will release chlorine gas if they come in contact with acids.

  • Do not store liquids above powders or solids. Do not stack containers.

  • Do not store materials or chemicals above your head.

  • Do not store pool chemicals near gasoline, fertilizers, herbicides, grease, paints, tile cleaners, turpentine, or flammable materials. This tip is especially important when pool chemicals are stored in sheds or small storage rooms.

  • Do not reuse containers.

Handling Chemicals

  • Always read and follow the chemical’s instructions to ensure safe use of chemicals.

  • Wear appropriate protective equipment and clothing including gloves, footwear and eyewear.

  • Handle chemicals in a well-ventilated area.

  • Use separate, clean metal or plastic measuring cups for each chemical to transfer or measure chemicals. Never use wood scoops.

  • Protect chemicals from moisture and water—such as a cup of water or coffee. Even putting the wet scoop back in the pail may cause a reaction.

  • When applicable, always dilute chemicals by adding to water, never the other way around unless the container’s label instructs you to do so.

  • Do not mix different chemicals together.

  • Do not put spilled chemicals back into their containers.

  • Do not smoke when handling chemicals.

  • Do not expose to heat or flames.

In Case of an Emergency

Eyes

If you get any chemicals in your eyes, flush them immediately with water for 15 minutes and get immediate medical attention. See instructions on the chemical packaging.

Skin

If you get any chemicals on your skin, flush them immediately with water and get immediate medical attention.

Inhalation

If you have a burning sensation in your nose or throat, feel dizzy, nauseous or vomit, and/or have difficulty breathing while handling chemicals or after handling chemicals, get fresh air immediately and get immediate medical attention.

Ingestion

If any pool chemicals are swallowed, call the poison center immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed.

Fire

If a fire breaks out, do not use a “dry chemical” fire extinguisher. Only use large amounts of water. If you can’t extinguish the flame immediately, leave the area and call the fire department.

Chemical Spills

Immediately clean up any chemical spills according to manufacturer’s directions. If a violent reaction has occurred, contact the fire department immediately and they will instruct you on steps to take until their arrival, if any.

ADA Standards for Swimming Pools

ADA Standards For Swimming Pools

There are over 50 million people with disabilities in the United States, which equates to 18% of the population – making persons with disabilities the largest minority group. To protect this population, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to prevent discrimination against a person based on a disability. The goal of the ADA is to provide a level playing field so that a person with a disability can compete equally for jobs and also enjoy the same benefits of living in the United States as a person who is able-bodied.

Swimming Pool Lifts

Often the main safety issue with an injured, disabled or elderly swimmer involves safe entry and egress. Therefore, the most common solution is a lift. This is the primary means of access that is a mechanical device used to transfer an individual in and out of a swimming pool. A lift can be added to the side of an inground pool, above ground pool, or hot tub and can be battery or water pressure powered. As of May 15, 2012, all public swimming pools in the U.S. must be equipped with assisted entry systems. With this American Disability Association (ADA) compliance law, disabled Americans around the nation will be able to enjoy the health and leisure benefits of public pools. As part of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, regulations of the Accessible Design for Recreational Facilities have required all public pools and hot tubs to be outfitted with an ADA compliant swimming pool lift or sloped entry.

Sloped entries

Primary means of access that is ideal for facilities with a large group of ambulatory users. A sloped entry can be a built-in entryway or a removable ramp. Facilities that use sloped entries as a means of access are also encouraged to provide a mobile aquatic chair designed for access into the water. Multi-purpose disability access ramps consist of a ramp, stair and underwater parallel bars. It can easily be removed from the pool making room for automatic cleaners and pool covers.

Transfer Walls

A secondary means of access that allows someone to transfer onto the top of the pool wall from a wheelchair and ease into the water. At least one grab bar should extend the width of the top of the pool wall. This type of access is typically used in hot tubs.

Accessible Pool Stairs

This secondary type of access provides balance and support for someone entering the pool from a standing position. Portable access ladders act as an easy-to-use staircase that can be attached anywhere along the edge for effortless entry or exiting. They also come with a deck adapter platform, side skirting to prevent underwater entrapment and dolly. The staircase consists of slip-resistant tread steps.

Access requirements differ depending on the size of the swimming pool. For large pools with over 300 linear feet of pool wall, two means of access are required. One of these MUST be a primary access. For smaller pools with under 300 linear feet of pool wall, at least one means of access must be provided, and it MUST be primary.

Tax credits are also available to ease the financial burden associated with implementing these new regulations. If a facility has annual revenue under $1 million or has fewer than 30 employees, it can receive a tax credit up to $5000 to help offset the cost of the accessibility modifications.

To learn more about the ADA regulations and accessible equipment, please visit the Department of Justice website at www.ada.gov or SR Smith information at www.poollifts.com.

ADA regulations affect several types of aquatic areas. These include swimming pools, hot tubs, wading pools and other aquatic recreation facilities such as wave pools and lazy rivers. Beaches, lakes, rivers and catch pools are NOT affected by the new ADA legislation. Means of access will need to be provided to the types of aquatic areas affected by the legislation.

The newly adopted regulations define five permitted means of access for swimming pools, including:

As part of the legislation passed by the ADA, over 100,000 commercial swimming pools will be required to become accessible to people with disabilities by March 15, 2012. Generally, this legislation will only affect state and local government owned facilities, parks and recreation departments, state run schools and universities, as well as hotels, health clubs, private schools and community centers. Private residences, apartments and condominiums are not affected, with a few exceptions:

  • If an apar​tment complex sells memberships to their pool to people living outside the complex, the pool IS considered public and is subject to the ADA regulations.

  • If a condominium actively rents out their units, similar to a hotel, this is also considered a public accommodation and subject to ADA regulations.