It’s no surprise that many homeowners across the Ocala area enjoy cooling down in their swimming pools during these hot, summer months in Central Florida. With temperatures reaching into the 90’s throughout the summer, mixed with additional heavy humidity, pools can be that refreshing escape that everyone can enjoy (and they may not hurt your property value, either!). With the higher-than-usual use of our pools during these warmer months, it never hurts to make sure you’re keeping up with your pool safety procedures. In fact, it could save a life!

Barriers and Alarms 

Barriers such as fences, covers and in-house alarm systems can greatly reduce the risk of a drowning at home. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a four-sided fence that separates the pool on all sides from the house and the yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning 83% over a three-sided fence that runs along the property line. Additionally, self-closing and automatic latching gates are necessary for child safety.  Many times a section of the barrier fence is removed to allow access to the pool area, which creates a major safety hazard.  Small children, once in the pool, can drown in less than 15 seconds.  Installing proper barriers is extremely important in reducing the risk of drowning.

Drain Covers 

Suction created by drains at the bottom of swimming pools can cause serious accidents if they aren’t updated and in compliance with federal regulations (as outlined in VGB, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act).  Many drains now also offer a precautionary system that shuts off the suction when the drain is clogged. A tragic event led to a nationwide re-evaluation which resulted in this legislation and updates to all commercial pools with anti-suction main drains have been completed. As for residential pools, each homeowner is responsible for having the main drain cover replaced if necessary.  Consult your pool professional for a proper evaluation of your pool and spa main drains.

Safety Equipment Nearby 

Located near your pool should be a well-stocked first-aid kit, a flotation device and quick access to a telephone. These allow for quick response and hopefully the prevention of disaster.  In addition, weekly inspections of your pool/spa and surrounding access should be conducted.  Loose deck material particles can create a tripping hazard, as can excessively large toys, pool vacuums, missing wall return fittings and glass containers. All can lead to injury or drowning so always remove unnecessary items from the pool or spa area.

Pool Technology 

Pool technology can include not just alarm systems and security cameras  but also materials like anti-slip decks. It’s not uncommon for tile manufactured for indoor use only to be installed on or around the pool area.  Tile such as this becomes extremely slippery when wet so only acrylic textured material or hand-laid pavers are recommended to provide the maximum level of protection from slippage. For alarms, many different types of alarm systems are available on today’s pool technology market.  These systems can contain electronic sensors that relay a loud signal when water movement is detected. Finally, security cameras are an invaluable tool for remote monitoring of the pool and surrounding areas. With today’s technology, feeds from these cameras can be accessed from inside a building via a computer or iPhone.

In addition to the above tips, consider these as well– we highly recommend that anyone who owns a pool get up-to-date certifications in CPR, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Knowing how to react in case of an emergency is key! Never trust that using a flotation device means there’s nothing to worry about. Proper usage of flotation equipment and diligent supervision is the key to a safe and happy summer. Children growing up around a pool should be taught to swim from as young of an age as possible. While this may not prevent an accident, it may give you a few extra seconds to react. Always swim with a buddy! Even adults are prone to accidents, and having a swim partner can save lives! 

Have a safe summer!