We want to focus on some common pool safety hazards with this article. Here are some pool safety hazards to be aware of in your swimming pool:
- Pool and Spa lights and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
- Deck Mounted Junction Boxes for Pool and Spa Lights and Pump Equipment
- Flat, Older Pool and Spa Drain Covers Especially in Spas
- Drownings and All Backyard Gates
- Diving Boards
Pool and Spa Lights and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI'S):
Every pool and spa light should be protected with a GFCI. This electronic safety device can be found in most kitchens and bathrooms where water is in close proximity. They work by cutting off the circuit of voltage going out of the GFCI if they sense a short or water. They are the first things to check if your pool and/or spa light are not coming on when you turn on. This usually happens after rain or when it is very humid and/or wet.
You should ask your pool service or check to make sure your pool light GFCI is working by pressing the test button. They can be placed on the pool light breaker or near the light switch for the pool light. When it pops, your pool or spa light should turn off which shows you that the circuit has been cut off. If you ever see water in your pool or spa light fixture, you should immediately warn your pool service provider. This potential pool safety hazard can be deadly if your pool water gets electrically charged from water in your pool or spa light without being cut off. A GFCI is a mandatory safety component for every pool and spa.
Deck Mounted Junction Boxes:
These junction boxes are very old and can be very dangerous! They connect electrical wires that may or may not be live all the time. Wiring that feeds pool pump equipment may run through this box and the wiring is just under the deck potentially exposing it to water from the pool rising up through the pool light fixture conduit and/or water dripping down from rain puddles and constant moisture. They used to block the water that runs up the pool light conduit with a cork and over time that cork can decompose or slip and allow some pool water up to those hot wires.
More dangerous is that some of these old, deck mounted junction boxes do not even have ground wires to help pop the breaker if a short occurred with electricity flowing into the pool water. It is hard to tell just how dangerous some of these situations are until you open them up.
Always get out of the swimming pool or spa if you feel a buzz or electricity near a pool light anywhere in the pool. Do not touch anything metal while in the pool water, because you can die!! Call a licensed pool contractor or electrician A.S.A.P.
Flat, Older Drain Covers:
There has been a lot of legislation and regulation on these old covers for good reason. These covers are where pool pumps suck water out from the swimming pool or spa. Modern pool pumps are more efficient and stronger in suction than older pool pumps. Pool plumbing has gotten bigger and there is much more capacity for stronger suction as well. This is especially dangerous in spa jet pumps!
The pool safety hazard is that these older covers allow for children to get their hair and bodies stuck to these covers from that strong suction. They can drown and there have even been cases of disembowelment. You want to make sure you do not have an unsafe, flat, and older drain cover like in this picture. These covers are more hazard prone as the bigger holes allow for entrapment.
Here is a picture of a safer, anti-vortex drain cover. Call your licensed pool service contractor immediately if you see that you have the dangerous, flat cover pictured above.
Drownings and All Backyard Gates:
If you have children and babies in your backyard, you need to protect your pool with a pool safety gate. Read our article on pool safety gates for more info.
You also want to make sure that your backyard gates latch and are shut at all times. There is always the potential for a young neighbor kid to sneak into your yard, so a proper working gate is mandatory. Having two gates is even safer!
Another potential pool safety hazard are painted swimming pools. As painted pools get older, the paint will wear off and bleed into the pool water when being used. Cloudy pool water is very dangerous, because you cannot clearly see children under the water. There have been drowning cases where families noticed a loved one had drowned after too much time has passed due to the cloudy water. Constant awareness and common sense is necessary during parties and fun time in the pool!
It is a very good idea to always have a pool monitor. Children get all riled up during parties and my family had an incident where our youngest who was still learning to swim just ran into the pool following the other kids without thinking. Luckily, we had an aware family where everyone noticed and my wife yelled out and a friend of ours jumped in immediately to get her. Thank you Jason Scholz! Jason Scholz lost a cell phone that day, but we will forever thank him for his quick reaction. Don't be afraid to use or own your swimming pool or spa. JUST BE CONSTANTLY AWARE AND ACT LIKE A TEAM WITH GUESTS!
This section is short, because we do not touch diving boards. They have been responsible for many, many injuries including paralyzation and death. We do not fix, touch, or add these pool safety hazards.
Do not allow diving in the swimming pool when children are swimming especially in the shallow end. Children are very careless and do not see hazards. Head on collisions with the bottoms of swimming pools have caused massive injury and paralyzation. Same pool safety hazard as diving boards.
Yes lightning! This is more common in areas with monsoons and/or high humidity storms, but lightning is very dangerous for swimmers in a swimming pool. That whole pool can light up from lightning and severe injury or death can result. It is not a good idea to swim or soak in a spa during a lightning storm!
Be Aware of These Pool Safety Hazards to Enjoy Your Swimming Pool Safely!
Please do not look at these pool safety hazards as reasons not to enjoy or own a swimming pool. Swimming pools can really enhance your life with just a little awareness and common sense. Protect yourselves from pool safety hazards and enjoy your Pool Heaven as much as possible.
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