How to Create a Safer Pool Area for Public Facilities
Is your pool area safe for swimmers, large and small?
Taking a dip during those hot summer days can be fun and inviting, but many people overlook some essential features when it comes to keeping their pool safe and secure. Without the right safety features in place, a day of fun can turn into a dangerous or even tragic situation.
In fact, children and infants are particularly at risk when it comes to private and public pools. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths of children between the ages of 1 and 14, and while most people think of drowning victims as poor swimmers, or swimmers who made a mistake, the truth is that pool safety plays a huge role in most of these accidents.
The good news is that your pool doesn’t have to be a part of the problem. It can be a part of the solution with proper tools and preparations. If you take action, you could potentially save a child’s (or adult’s) life.
So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your pool is a safe haven for happy families, friends, and little ones.
Know the Codes: How to Keep Your Pool Safe
After so many dangerous and life-threatening pool incidences, you could probably guess that your local authority has regulatory codes in place to guard against pool safety hazards.
Take these seriously. These codes are put in place to protecting citizen from pool dangers, and also outline what you need in order to create a safe swimming space.
Remember: Google is handy, but it isn’t an end-all. Be sure to check with your state and local authorities to make sure that you are meeting all of the necessary pool laws and codes.
When in doubt, call the Department of Health to discover what you can do to make sure your pool doesn’t become a local statistic, and to protect yourself from any lawsuits.
10 Tips for Preventing Pool Safety Hazards
Want to know the best ways to keep your pool safe and accessible for swimmers of all ages?
Below we cover the top 10 tips for preventing pool safety hazards (and what to do if anything were to occur)!
1. Keep a Safe Walking Area
The number one threat isn’t in the pool — it’s the walkway that surrounds it.
Many pool managers allow slippery walkways and fool themselves into thinking “No running!” signs are enough. They’re sad when they find out the hard way how much of a mistake this is.
The truth is that it’s your responsibility to prevent falls that could lead in concussions, broken bones, or a non-swimmer falling in the deep end. The last thing you want is for your pool to be known for these accidents.
Not only that, but you’ll turn away safe parents who’ll notice this, and prefer to go elsewhere. This will lose you patrons at a public facility or, worse, lead to lawsuits and accidents.
So, if your walkways are slippery when wet, you need to make a change.
Replace slippery surfaces with slip-resistant ones as soon as possible to prevent the majority of accidents that are likely to happen.
2. Install and Maintain Proper Drain Covers
When a drain cover expires, it increases the suction from the drain itself, and poor swimmers and little ones can get sucked in by the current. Yikes!
Proper maintenance of drain covers is essential. Laws also support the upkeep and regular maintenance of drain covers to protect children and vulnerable swimmers. These covers need to be replaced every 5 years and routinely inspected so you can maintain a safe and happy pool!
3. Ladders Aren’t Just for Convenience
All swimmers need easy access to get out of the pool. Step ladders give swimmers a safe and convenient way to get to “shore”, whether they are tired or just need a break.
For that reason, make sure you have accessible ladders in your pool – preferably one for each side. Ladders also need to be slip-resistant to make sure they themselves don’t become another source of accidents.
4. How Deep is It Really?
Parents often need to make careful decisions about where their children can swim and what they can handle.
This is why it’s important to mark the pool to communicate with the guests what areas are safe for them. Marking the pool depth in obvious ways ensures that they can make informed decisions about what’s safe for them and their children.
Make sure you mark with precision, so families know exactly how deep the pool is at every section. This way families and staff can help children set safe boundaries and have a good time without worrying about danger.
5. Set Clear Expectations & Pool Rules
A lot of accidents happen because of poor behavior in pool facilities. It’s easy to point a finger and blame the victim for not minding what you consider “common sense”, but be mindful.
How many children are going to have their first pool experience at your pool? Will they come knowing the rules?
And how many parents are going to inevitably take their eyes off of their child for just long enough for something to happen? How many of those parents aren’t experts about pool rules, and will miss a step when instructing their children on how to behave or enforcing the behavior?
And in this situation, who’s job is it to really be the expert? It’s yours.
They need your help. You’ll want to create a list of pool rules that protect all guests, children & adults alike. These rules should be clear and understood by staff to aid parents in enforcing them.
Your list needs to include (but is not limited to):
- No diving!
- No alcohol!
- Adult Supervision for Children Under 12!
- No horseplay!
- Shower BEFORE and AFTER Using the Pool!
These signs are not only for children, but to help staff and parents understand what they need to be:
- Not doing
- Looking for
These signs serve as reminders about the dangers that horseplay, diving, and lack of parental supervision can have.
6. Keep Life-Saving Equipment On-Hand
If something dangerous were to happen, are you prepared to take action and save someone’s life? If there isn’t a lifeguard on-duty, is there life-saving equipment available for the public to use in case of any emergency?
This is why you need to be aware that an incident can occur at anytime, and prepare yourself and your facility for unpredictable, life-threatening incidents.
These are a few of the life-saving tools that you should be prepared with in case of any emergency:
1. First-Aid Kits
They’re good to have around in case of any incident that occurs at your pool. Remember to keep an updated and fully stocked first-aid kit to make sure that you are never without the proper medical equipment.
2. Shepard’s Hook (Life Hook)
It’s a good tool to have so that you don’t have to risk your own life to save another.
This long pole with a hook on the end is great for pulling people to safety without you having to enter the pool.
3. Ring Buoys (Throw Rings)
This is another tool to reduce the chance of having to risk someone’s life to save another.
These ring buoys are the perfect tools to keep those who need assistance to stay afloat.
Make sure that you are well trained and prepared to take action so that you pool doesn’t become a local statistic.
7. Set Proper Boundaries
Time to talk about fencing for your pool.
It’s all too common for pets, children, and any other thrill seeking adult to make their way into a pool only to give it bad publicity if any life-threatening incident happens.
That’s not the publicity your pool needs to keep happy families coming back.
Typically, they need to be 48 inches (4 feet), or taller, and they are required by law to ensure that no person, or pet, accidently makes their way into your pool and finds out that they are unable to get out.
To find out more about the fencing laws in your area, contact your local authorities to better help you understand how to make your pool a safer place.
8. Keep Your Pool Clean and Clear
Is your pool water treated, clean, and safe for swimmers?
Make sure that you are treating your pool regularly to avoid the growth of bacteria, and low or high pH levels in the pool, to prevent your guests from getting sick.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a scientist to figure out how to keep your pool clean. Contact your local pool service, or search online for pool cleaning packages to make the process easier on you to ensure a safe stay for your guests.
9. Have Trained Staff
You are almost ready to say your pool is one of the safest out there, but…
You still have a little work to do.
Think of this as if you’re learning a language. It takes time to get good and maintain a certain level of efficiency. It also requires you to do a lot of practice to get there.
So does maintaining your pools safety. You have to continuously train not only yourself, but also your staff, to be able to prevent incidents from occurring.
Make sure that you are training yourself and your staff regularly, so that you are able to take action to resolve an incident when needed.
10. Gather Your Evidence in Case of a Lawsuit
Of course, you never want to think that a serious accident could occur at your pool. However, it is important to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.
If you don’t, you could come face-to-face with a lawsuit.
How can this happen?
Two ways: negligence and lack of documentation.
Make sure you are aware of all the things that are necessary to ensure your pool is safe and secure for your guest.
To help you do that, you need to document everything that goes on around your pool:
- Drain changes
- Guest Entry
Documentation is there to help you stay on top of the key requirements you need to meet to have a top notch pool.
It gives you the ability to check yourself, and your pool, before a horrible situation occurs.
It will help you see what could be done better, know when maintenance is needed around the facility, and when having to deal with the law due to any incident or surprise inspection.
Have more questions about pool safety? Check out the resources below, or send us a message!
For a copy of our downloadable whitepaper on pool safety, click HERE.