Well here we are once again at the beginning of another swimming season. The weather of course could be cooperating a little bit more as the northeast is still attempting to decide should it be spring or will we just go straight to summer. I feel like everything is running just a tad late from the flowers to warm rays of sunshine but as always Mother Nature is in charge and we'll accept what she brings to us.
Down to business, May is "National Water Safety Month" and I can't think of a better topic than keeping ourselves and our families safe while having summertime fun. Owning a swimming pool gives us the additional task of making sure that everything is in tip top shape before we dive in to the season. I have always impressed upon the timing of opening your pool with a great way to check off safety issues needing attention and updating what your family safety plan is. After all, the more people understand the safety rules the less you are harping about them right? Some of these rules can be even more important for those who are lucky to use their pools year round as we tend to forget what appears to be working fine and may forget to conduct safety checks every so often.
So let's take a moment to go over a few things that you can do when you are opening your pool and other things you want to call a professional in for:
1. Check and make sure all batteries are replaced in your pool, window and gate alarms and that they function correctly.
2. Your gates should be self closing and self latching as well as secure fencing around the pool area. Check to make sure there is nothing a child can climb, go through or under allowing any access to your pool area.
3. If you are doing work on your pool and the pool is not full of water danger still lurks so keep the area free of pets and children.
4. Keep your deck clear of any trip hazards, over stocked with toys and furniture so your views of the water are clear and no one can fall on the deck. Install ladders and handrails securely.
5. If you have deck accessories such as diving boards or slides, inspect for cracks, missing, loose or rusted bolts and repair or replace before installing or using. Install your safety line.
6. Your filter equipment area is another item for safety checks, including checking for missing parts, replacing cracked skimmer and pump baskets, securing safety grates and/or drain covers and clearing areas by electrical and heater equipment for proper ventilation. If you smell gas, leave the area and call your gas professional immediately.
7. As a homeowner you can test all your outdoor outlets by tripping the GFI, if you don't have GFI protection then call an electrician to install. Any frayed, older electrical chords, from pumps for example should not be used and should be replaced by a qualified professional. Bad breakers that trip or seem to be malfunctioning also need a second look. Due to recent events in Florida where tragically a child was electrocuted by a failure in an electrical box makes you think you can never be too careful with the mixture of water and electricity (They're Deadly). This is one job you do not want to be a do it yourselfer. I believe it is wise to to have your home inspected electrically every few years by someone licensed to do so.
8. Teach your children what they can and can not touch around the pool area. Keep pets away as well.
9. Have the proper rescue equipment on deck or handy, keep a card of emergency #'s in the pool area and if you can, have a land line telephone for emergency use only
10. To me the most important safety step is to have adult supervision and enough adults if there are several children. Kids are so fast especially toddlers they can be where they shouldn't in a few seconds.
Of course there are many more safety tips available. I can't cover all of them here but these will get you thinking? Right? I didn't even cover the safety of your water which many of us would not think of as dangerous but without proper sanitation can cause diseases and sickness. This and other information can be found in my water safety book. Common sense can also be handy when dealing with safety around your pool area but we can't rely on others to know what to do or to be up on safety.
Lastly, as I write in my book Swimming Pool Water Safety A Guide To Having A Safe Swimming Season layers of safety can mean the difference between a fun swimming season or a tragic one.
As always, I recommend that you either refresh or learn CPR skills and include your family as well as nannies and other caretakers. You can do this online at the American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org they have an excellent water safety course as well as online refresher courses for CPR.
I hope this gets the public thinking about hot dogs and hamburgers along with lots of safe family fun. Please send your comments and questions and for further information on safety and swimming pool ownership visit http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Pool-Girl/e/B00CA08KI2or www.prospectpoolsllc.com