by Sean Griffin, January 27, 2012
Pool Safety Checklist
Exercising caution around your swimming pool and continually making sure that safety measures, in and around the pool, are in place can be the difference between years of swimming enjoyment and tragedy. Routine inspections can help you to have peace of mind and comfort in knowing your loved ones are safeguarded from a possible mishap.
When it comes to an open body of water in your backyard there is no substitute for adult supervision and common sense safe practices (NO RUNNING!) but we can take precautionary safety measures and keep an eye on them to make sure they are in working order.
Even something as small as a faulty gate latch can allow unwanted access to your swimming pool. The possibilities for accidents around the swimming pool are endless and tragic drowning occurs silently.
Layers of Protection
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. Knowing and monitoring when the pool is in use will allow you to reduce the possibilities of injury and respond in a timely manner if an accident does occur. Fencing and gates should be in place along with safety alarms. The more layers of protection you have surrounding your pool the less likely an unwanted swimmer or curious child might make it to the water. Some common routine maintenance will include…..
-Testing and fixing all gates and points of access to the backyard. Gates should all be self closing and self latching. Converting a gate to be self closing or realigning any latch can easily be achieved with some simple fittings from your local hardware store.
-Test all pool door and pool gate alarms regularly. Just like a fire alarm or a fire extinguisher you will want to make sure they remain fully operational. A non working safety measure can bring a false sense of security.
-Annually inspect any safety cover that will be used. Make sure all springs are intact and that a child or animal cannot gain entry to the pool water.
The chemicals used in keeping your pool water sparkling clear can have potentially hazardous side affects if used or stored improperly. Your first goal will be to limit persons who will have access to these chemicals if they are stored on the property. Every individual that is using any pool chemical should have the necessary training and proper knowledge before being able to access any pool chemicals. Understanding chemical reactions and having accident response measures in place will greatly reduce the risk of injury.
-Frequently inspect any pool chemicals stored at your home to ensure they do not get wet or mix together. Visually inspect all containers to make sure they are in-tact.
-Make sure pool chemical storage rooms are properly ventilated, ensure any drains are unblocked in case moisture becomes present.
-Safely discard chemicals that are outdated, tainted, or not being used. Leftover chemicals should never accumulate. Keep all chemical storage neat and tidy to prevent accidents.
Pool Equipment Safety
Pool pumps are now available across the country that have safety vacuum release systems incorporated in their design. Upgrading your pool pump can prevent entrapment. Other pieces of pool equipment to monitor and routinely inspect will include….
-Skimmer lids! A broken or cracked skimmer lid may not support the weight of someone walking the pool perimeter. A broken skimmer lid allowing someone to fall though can easily lead to a sprained ankle.
-Electrical wiring and outlets. You don’t need to be an electrician to visually make sure you don’t have exposed wiring or broken electrical outlets around the pool.
-Check all pool lighting and pathway lighting leading to your swimming pool. A dark pathway or an ill lit pool will increase the chances of an accident.
There is no substitute for adult supervision around your swimming pool. AS always you will want to make sure horseplay and running around your swimming pool is not allowed. Refrain from using glass ware and never use a swimming pool after drinking alcoholic beverages. Swimming aids should be used be beginner level swimmers. Procedures should be in place in case an accident does occur. Make sure everyone using the swimming pool knows what to do in case of an emergency.
-Educate yourself in life saving techniques such as CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation.
-Make sure all safety equipment is in good condition. A Sheppard’s hook and a neck brace are common items you will see at community pools and may come in handy right in your backyard. A first aid kit is a must at every pool!