Swimming pools can be a great source of fun and enjoyment, especially during the hot summer months. However, they can also be dangerous if proper safety measures are not taken. According to the CDC, drowning is a leading cause of injury and death among children ages 1-14 .
While accidents can happen, having the proper safety equipment on hand can make all the difference in preventing a tragedy. Do you know what safety equipment you must have on hand in an emergency? From life jackets to pool alarms, several items should be on your list.
Exterior Security (Gates and Fences)
Safety starts before you even enter the swimming pool: it begins with having secure perimeter fencing around the area. This will help to keep curious children out of the pool and may even alert adults if someone enters the area without permission. Look for strong, sturdy fencing at least 4 feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Ideally, use a childproof latch to help prevent unauthorized access.
For added safety, you may add a pool alarm. This device alerts you when someone or something enters your pool or pool area. It thus increases your pool’s safety by providing additional protection against accidental drowning, especially if you have young children or pets.
Most pool alarms detect when an object enters the water or changes the water level suddenly. Some pool alarms can also see when the pool cover is removed or when someone enters the pool area.
Once the pool alarm is installed, you should test it to ensure it works correctly. Also, ensure the alarm is loud enough to be heard from inside your home and set up to alert you immediately if someone enters the pool area.
Safety signage is critical in ensuring that swimmers and pool users know potential hazards and how to use the pool safely.
Various types of safety signage are commonly used in swimming pools. For example, you may include warning signs, rules and regulations signs, depth markers, no diving signs, and lifeguard signs.
Place your signage in visible areas around the pool, such as near the entrance, the deep end, and the diving board. Make sure they are located at eye level and easily readable, with large, bold letters. Their content should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. If your signs include symbols, use easily recognizable ones.
Finally, check your signs regularly and replace any damaged, faded, or missing ones.
Safety covers are designed to cover the pool when it’s not used. These covers are designed to be removed quickly when swimming is desired. While they are typically used to reduce the risk of debris and dirt getting into the pool, they also provide a barrier that prevents accidental drowning. They are vital for families with young children or pets and those living in areas with high winds or heavy rainfall.
Several types of safety covers are available for swimming pools, including mesh covers, solid covers, and automatic covers. Let a professional handle installation, as they should be able to support the weight of multiple people and pets. To achieve this, they should be anchored so that they can’t be lifted or shifted.
Check your safety covers regularly to ensure they are in good condition and free of damage or wear. Also, clean them frequently to remove debris and dirt.
Steps, Handrails, and Ladders
To ensure your safety while entering and exiting the swimming pool, you need features such as steps, handrails, and ladders. By providing safe and secure access to the collection, such features can help prevent slips, falls, and other accidents.
Steps provide an easy way for swimmers to enter and exit the pool safely, thus reducing the risk of slips and falls. Pool steps should be slip-resistant and well-lit. They should also be visible from the pool deck to prevent swimmers from accidentally stepping off the pool’s edge.
Handrails are essential for swimmers who need extra support when entering or exiting the pool, such as those with mobility or balance issues, as well as children and older adults. The handrails should be securely anchored to the pool deck or surrounding area and should be designed to provide a comfortable grip for swimmers.
While ladders are essential for above-ground pools, they can also be used in in-ground pools to provide a safe and easy way for swimmers to enter and exit the pool. Ladders should be securely anchored to the pool wall and have non-slip steps to prevent slipping.
Be sure to check regularly your steps, handrails, and ladders for signs of wear or damage.
Pool Lights and Other Electrical Equipment
Pool lights and other electrical equipment can help increase swimming pool safety by providing better visibility, preventing accidents, and reducing the risk of electrical hazards.
Adequate lighting is critical to ensure the pool area is visible at night. This can help prevent accidents such as slips, falls, and collisions with other swimmers. Lighting can also make it easier to see potential hazards, such as underwater obstacles, that might not be visible in the dark.
Electrical Safety Devices
Electrical safety devices such as ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and circuit breakers are crucial to prevent electrical hazards in and around the pool. GFCIs are designed to shut off the power if they detect a ground fault or electrical leak, while circuit breakers are designed to prevent electrical overloads that could cause fires or other hazards.
Pump and Filtration Systems
Properly functioning pump and filtration systems can help keep the pool water clean and clear, thus reducing the risk of illness and infection. They can also help prevent accidents by ensuring the water is circulating correctly and free from debris and other hazards.
In addition, you should use a pool vacuum regularly to remove debris from the bottom of the pool. This will help keep your collection clean and reduce health risks associated with poor hygiene.
A qualified electrician or swimming pool professional should install all electrical equipment in your pool. Make sure all equipment works appropriately with regular swimming pool maintenance.
Grates and Drains
Grates and drains should be installed in the pool to ensure that any debris, such as leaves and insects, is quickly removed. They also help keep swimmers safe by limiting the amount of water that can accumulate around the pool’s edges.
Drains help circulate the water in the pool, keeping it clean and clear. However, if the drain is not covered correctly, it can create a powerful suction that can trap swimmers and even pose a drowning risk.
This risk is minimized by installing a grate. Grates cover the pool’s drain and help prevent swimmers from getting trapped or caught in the gutter. Attach grates securely to the drain to prevent hair, jewelry, or clothing from becoming entangled.
In addition to installing a grate, inspect the drain regularly to ensure it functions correctly and is not clogged or obstructed. Some older pool drain covers may not meet current safety standards, so have your pool inspected by a professional to ensure it meets current safety standards and make any necessary upgrades.
Rescue items such as life vests and life rings, also known as life buoys or life savers, are not typically required by law for use in swimming pools. However, some states and localities do have their regulations. Check with your local authorities to determine if there are any specific requirements or recommendations for using life preservers in your area.
Even so, you should make life vests available for all swimmers, regardless of their proficiency level in the water. For optimal protection, purchase life vests approved by the US Coast Guard.
As for life rings, you should keep them near the pool for easy access in case of emergencies. Ensure they have at least 30 feet of rope attached so they can be thrown out to a distressed swimmer. Also, you should have someone trained in using rescue items present whenever the pool is in use.
First aid kits are an essential safety feature for any swimming pool, as they can help provide immediate medical attention during an injury or medical emergency.
By having a well-stocked first aid kit on hand, you can quickly and effectively treat injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises that may occur in and around the pool. This can help to prevent the injury from becoming more severe and can reduce the risk of infection.
In a more serious medical emergency, such as a heart attack or near-drowning, having a first aid kit on hand can help provide critical care until emergency services arrive. This can help save lives and reduces the risk of long-term injury.
Stock your first aid kit with all the necessary items, including bandages, antiseptics, gauze, scissors, gloves, and other supplies. Check regularly to ensure that your kit is up to date and that all supplies are in good condition.
Prepare for Summer Fun in Your Pool
Swimming pool safety equipment is essential for a safe and enjoyable swimming experience. While the above checklist will help ensure that your swimming pool has all the necessary items to keep everyone safe, you should also teach your children to swim and respect the water.
By following the above tips, you can help ensure your pool is safe and enjoyable for everyone. All that is left is for you to prepare for a summer full of fun in your swimming pool!
References  https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html