Time “2 Bee Ready” – Thinking About Pool Safety
Post by: Chuck Wilson
It’s almost summer time. The pool is sparkling. The BBQ smells great. The lemonade is perfect. You’ve thought of everything. Right? If you haven’t reviewed pool safety you’re missing a crucial part of having a fun and enjoyable season with the swimming pool. 2 Bee Ready can help you. Let’s take a few minutes to go over basic pool safety, grab a glass of that lemonade and let’s get started…
Pool Fencing is an important line of defense 24/7 365 days a year. Curious little folks can’t resist the sparkling allure of a pool. Many child drowning and near-drowning incidents stem from unfenced pools and even worse fenced pools with unsecured gates. A pool fence with an unlatched gate is no better than an unfenced pool. Here is an example of something that really gets me steamed. I live in a nice condo complex. We have 3 sparkling pools that see a fair amount of use. As people come and go from the pool area they have an annoying tendency to leave the gate slightly ajar so they don’t have to use the gate key to get in and out. Are you kidding me? When you see this take a minute and secure the gate. You may inconvenience some lazy person, but that’s far better than having a child drown. Fencing needs to be secure, with properly spaced bars and working latches. Double check your fencing today.
Pool Safety Procedures: Proper supervision of kids around water does NOT involve sitting on a chaise lounge on the other side of the pool, talking on the phone while intently working on painting your toenails. Think I’m making this up, think again. I actually witnessed this type of behavior on more than one occasion. Watch your kids around water, actively watch, without distraction. Better yet if there are children in the water, you should be too. Now as for you adults, don’t swim alone. If you experience difficulty in the water, say from a medical emergency, having another person nearby can be the difference between life and death. If you are supervising kids or other adults around a pool, be able to swim. Many adults don’t know how and are scared or even embarrassed to learn. Don’t be. If you didn’t get the chance to learn as a kid, do it now. There are many places to learn how. The local Y or community center often has adult swim lessons. Search the internet for qualified swim instructors who can give you one on one instruction. It is a must have skill if you are responsible for supervising a pool environment, and besides, swimming is great exercise and good fun. While we are on the topic of education, get in touch with your local Red Cross and take a CPR class. If you have before, be sure you stay current. The ability to enact proper application of CPR techniques is essential to being a responsible pool supervisor. Always have a phone handy while watching over swimmers. Having a cordless or cell phone to immediately summon help and receive important instruction from a 911 dispatcher is always a good idea. Know how to shut off the pool or spa equipment. Use caution around pool or spa return drains. They produce a powerful suction that can trap you underwater. Some produce over 500 lbs of suction and can trap even a strong adult. Great strides in mitigating the danger of return drains has been made since the introduction of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, named for a 7 year old who died from drowning due to entrapment by a faulty drain cover. New equipment standards have been introduced and are backed up by law. Public and community swimming pools and spas are required to meet these standards. To learn more visit http://www.poolsafely.gov/parents-families/residential-pool-spa-owners/vgb-compliant-drain-covers/
Hopefully this post has got you thinking about pool safety and what you can do to make swimming a fun, happy and safe part of summer. For more information I encourage you to visit these great websites:
Emergency Preparedness Advocate & Founding Contributor of 2BeeReady.org