by Sean Griffin, November 11, 2011
Swimming Pool Safety: Creating Layers of Protection
A swimming pool in your backyard can be one of the most gratifying forms of relaxation. Soaking up the sun and diving in for a dip on a hot summer day can be exhilarating. The benefits and possibilities for fun in and around the pool are limitless. Your backyard swimming pool can bring your family, friends and even the neighbor’s years of enjoyment.
Having a home with a swimming pool is also a great responsibility. You will want to safeguard yourself and your home against accidents and liabilty that can arise. As a responsible swimming pool owner you will want to evaluate the safety of your home and swimming pool, introduce multiple layers of protection, and continually make sure the safety you have implemented are in proper function.
Swimming pool safety should not prevent you from having a good time but take note that most pool related accidents can be avoided with the proper layers of protection. A swimming pool cover, safety fencing, and a pool alarm can give you piece of mind all year round.
Guarding your swimming pool begins even before you can see the pool. Take into account all means of access. What are the most common places people will enter your backyard and what are some uncommon paths an unfamiliar guest might take to end up poolside. Current building laws will require the pool be enclosed within a fence that meets certain criteria such as the height of the fencing. A fence that runs the perimeter of your property or encloses your backyard will be your first line of defense. Confirm you are in compliance with local code at all times and make sure all self closing latches are in working condition.
Perimeter fencing will be a deterrent against unwanted wildlife and unwanted visitors. Access to your pool from within your home should also be considered especially with any children around. A curious child can find an unlocked door and may find his or her way to the pool unbeknownst to you. Door alarms are available to sound off at a high decibel levels to let the homeowner know when someone is making their way to the pool.
We then enter inside the perimeter fencing or through the home to go poolside to consider additional forms of safety barriers. You will again take into account any surrounding landscaping and entry paths to the body of water. Eliminate any tripping hazards and ensure all pathways are well lit. Keep in mind people might be walking around barefoot or in flip flops after the sun has gone down. Additional pool side safety fencing will be your next point of access and point of safety. Fencing such as Baby-Loc and Protect-a-Pool will keep a child out while allowing easy passage for an eager adult swimmer.
The next layer of protection in swimming pool safety would be a poolside alarm. Offered in several forms, a floating or mounted alarm will monitor the water tension and activate an alarm if anything has created “wake” on the surface of the pool water. Used in conjunction with a perimeter fence and a pool side safety fence you might consider this a failsafe.
Child safety should be of the upmost concern so we recommend having all safety barriers available to you be utilized if you have a little one around the home. For young ones still learning to swim you can also consider U.S.C.G. approved child life vests and also a Safety Turtle wrist band pool alarm. The safety turtle wrist bands can even be used for your pets for pool safety as well as children.
An additional step in creating the safest pool environment possible is ensuring the actual pool equipment isn’t putting a swimmer at risk. Typically the swimming pool equipment is tucked away, out of view and out of mind from the occupants of your backyard. Vacuum release systems (SVRS) are available to prevent entrapment and injury to swimmers. Older pools may not have been constructed with current anti-entrapment drain covers and a failsafe in your plumbing loop to prevent bodily harm. Vacuum release systems can be installed and your pool equipment can be updated so you can be a pioneer in residential pool safety.
Once we’ve made it to the pool in our swimsuits, swimming pool safety should still be on our minds. Every structural safety barrier and alarm is no substitute for adult supervision or a buddy system to prevent accidents. Monitoring swimmers in your pool and letting those using the pool know the Pool Rules is a must.
No running or rough housing will prevent injury around the pool. When and if an accident or emergency situation arises don’t be caught off-guard. Even the homeowner who has gone to incredible lengths to be proactive in accident prevention should also be prepared to be reactive as well.
Have an emergency plan in place and make those around you aware of it. First Aid Kits rescue equipment, and a telephone should be within close reach. .
Swimming pool safety should be attended to before you relax around the pool. Stay up to date on current changes in pool safety equipment, pool safety options, and local laws that may have been revised. Pool safety should be in the back of your mind at all times. Enjoy your swimming pool safely…..