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by Sean Griffin, November 21, 2011
Police Cruiser Splashes into the Pool
Accidents occur around every corner. Hours of training in accident prevention won’t exclude you entirely from an unexpected mishap. Even trained police officers who are fighting crime and making our streets safer on a daily basis have an occasional misfortune. A recent incident involving a New Jersey police pursuit is a great example of the benefits to having layers of protection around your swimming pool……even for those who are out protecting us!
On Thursday November 17th around 7:30 p.m. a Tenafly, New Jersey police officer who was in pursuit of someone, navigated though the fencing and ended up partially submerged in the Knickerbocker Country Club swimming pool. His cruiser was held up by the Loop-Loc safety cover that is used every winter when the pool is shut down for the season. The country club was in use and the “Splash” didn’t stop tennis players from getting back to the match on the nearby courts. Local Police Chief Michael Bruno reiterated that no one was injured in the accident and that the investigation was ongoing.
I spoke with the General Manager at Knickerbocker Country Club Gavin Ingles who gave some additional details. Mr. Ingles believes strongly that the presence of the mesh pool safety cover played a large role in ensuring the acting officer did not drown. According to Mr. Ingles the depth of the water at the point where the cruiser entered the pool was 4’6”. The officer behind the wheel was able to exit the vehicle out of the pasenger side window. He estimated that the cop car would have been sub-merged almost fully if not suspended by the Loop-Loc Mesh safety cover. Because of how the officer’s car entered the water the structure of the pool went undamaged. The cover which is approximately 5400 square feet was originally made in 2000. The safety cover had to be cut away by The Tenafly Volunteer Fire Department so that the vehicle could be removed from the swimming pool and will need replacing.
Although it is unlikely, every driver and passenger in an automobile of any nature should be prepared for an accident. If you find yourself in an automobile that has crashed into a body of water you will want to keep your wits about you, stay calm, and never panic. Its important to know the correct procedure if you find yourself in these unfortunate circumstances. Learn How to Escape from a Sinking Car and cardinal rules that could one day prove to be life saving.
It’s hard to believe that a cover almost twelve years old has the ability to hold up a heavy cop car. Prolong the life of your safety cover by doing some simply cover maintenance and storing properly. When a safety cover does show signs of wear consider replacing. Don’t wait until an accident does occur. UV rays will break down the material of the cover after several years and the scrim will loosen and the ability to hold large weight loads is decreased. Make sure the safety cover hardware is in proper working condition especially the springs which will help distribute the weight load across the entire surface of the cover.
From time to time I come across photos and stories of cars, trucks, and other assorted motor vehicles that have somehow managed to make their way to the swimming pool. Children playing in the family car that’s sitting in the driveway remove the emergency break and the car rolls through a fence and into the pool or a careless driver makes an extreme wrong turn. These infrequent incidents could be devastating. Safety fencing, safety covers and knowing how to respond when disaster does arise can be vital in minimizing negative outcomes. A pool alarm might not be as loud as a cops siren but will alert any heavy sleeper that may have not noticed a car takin a dip in the pool!
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