Swimming Pool Safety Scan

Swimming Pool Safety Scan
by Rob Cox, June 11, 2012

Swimming Pool Safety Scan

Summer is here and it's time to do a pool safety scan!

A "Pool Safety Scan" is not one of those trademarked terms, just a method for evaluating the Layers of Protection around your swimming pool.

Layers of Protection refers to the various barriers to or alarms for - unauthorized use of the pool. These Layers are like concentric rings around the pool, starting with pool alarms at the pool's edge, to the pool perimeter fence and beyond.

These layers don't have to be barriers to entry, but can be rescue equipment, phone lines, and safety lines dividing the shallow from the deep end.

Layers of protection can be as granular as a life vest or a safety turtle wristband that the young non-swimmer wears while enjoying the backyard sunshine.

So, think about the Layers of Protection around your pool that will prevent access, improve visibility, alert others or make rescue easier.

5 Step Pool Safety Scan

1. Fences and Gates

Pool Fence Inspection: Walk around your complete fence perimeter. Check for loose boards, or gaps where even a small animal could skinny through. Give a sharp eye to any unintentional "ladders" around the pool fence. Trees, woodpiles, old cars, whatever - anything that would make it easier for someone to hop over your pool fence.

Pool Gate Inspection: All gates leading to the pool should be Self-Closing and Self-Latching. If there are gates that you don't frequently use, put a padlock on these gates. Some gates are really easy for a small person to jiggle loose. Give yours a good shake and rattle to see if you can pop it loose. Some are so loose that a stiff breeze will blow them open! Make sure that your gates shut and latch by themselves. Small adjustments are usually needed every few years to keep the pool gate in balance and latching properly behind you.

2. Internal Pool Barriers

Internal Pool Fences make a great additional layer of protection. These barriers don't have to be fences, they can be kitchen units, hedges, patio furniture sets. As long as it doesn't block the visibility from the house, a good internal pool barrier will help direct traffic flow to a secondary, internal pool fence. A good designer uses levels, hedges, small hidden fences and outdoor living spaces to create a traffic flow that is smart and safe.

3. Pool Trip & Slip Hazards

  • Slabs of concrete that are not aligned, or a pool that sits higher than the deck.
  • Low spots in the concrete, where standing water puddles, will create slick algae blooms.
  • Mis-placed planters or patio furniture.
  • Hoses or cords running across the deck area.
  • Poorly marked or slippery steps .
  • Slippery pool decks or slippery steps into the pool.
  • Loose coping stones on edge of inground pools.

4. Diving & Sliding Pool Equipment

If you have a diving board, know the demographic of your problem divers. Males, age 18-44, who have had too much to drink. If you hear "Hey, watch this!" at your next pool party, it may be time to close the board. Diving too "large" on a residential diving board has put many young men in hospitals and wheel chairs. Consider removing your diving board, but if not, make sure that the bolts are tight, and that the surface has no cracks and it hasn't lost it's non-skid surface.

If you have a sliding board, the safety concerns are less, but if you have rowdy guests like those mentioned above, close the slide. Otherwise, during a pool safety scan, check the mountings on the slide legs and the ladder. Look for cracks in the surface - and to prevent red rump, check the water delivery system, the hoses and water jets that deliver a bit of water to the slide deck.

5. Other Layers of Protection

So, give your pool a Layers of Protection Inspection this week. See if you can spot any potential hazards, and then make the smart correction.