The best known things about swimming pool safety are being water safe and the basics about swimming pool fences. That’s not the whole story, and pool safety isn’t just for kids. Everything about pool safety, from the pool pump to basic maintenance, needs to be understood to really have a safe pool.
Pool safety is best seen as a range of situations, both separated and integrated:
Swimming pool maintenance
Pool area use
Pool maintenance equipment
Each of these areas has potentials for serious injury or even death. It’s best to be systematic about how you approach these situations.
1. Swimming pool maintenance
The pool itself has more hazards than just the swimming issues:
Contamination: Algae, and just having people in the pool provide a range of organic materials which must be cleaned out of the pool regularly. The chlorine in the pool does usually keep these things under control, but maintenance of water quality is essential
Physical condition: Pools sometimes develop small structural faults through which water can flow. These flaws can be disastrous, because they can compromise both the pool’s structure and the surrounding area. A leaky pool can become a dangerous swamp, and actually affect foundations. Check the pool regularly for any evidence of weak or damaged spots.
2. Pool area use
The pool surrounds, if not properly organized, can be public liability and medical insurance incidents waiting to happen:
Traffic areas: These areas must be non-slip, and clean. If you have kids, a soft zone where they can play safely is also a best practice safety option.
Barbecues, TVs and other equipment:
Barbecues, gas or electric, must be secured. Electric barbecues must be kept clear of direct exposure to water. Gas barbecues should have well secured gas tanks and fireproof containers for lighting equipment.
TVs and other outdoor entertainment areas: This equipment must be kept clear of water exposure at all times, preferably on raised, screened features which aren’t likely to be exposed to dripping people, towels, or splash.
All pool area use equipment should be kept strictly kid-safe at all times.
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Never allow young kids into any space, particularly confined spaces, around the pool if there’s any risk of them getting stuck.
3. Pool maintenance equipment
Pool equipment can be dangerous if it malfunctions. It’s more likely to be dangerous if an untrained person tries to “fix” it.
Never attempt to handle or repair faulty pool equipment yourself, particularly electrically operated equipment, unless you’re a licensed electrician. Signs of wear aren’t good signs, particularly if related to heavy duty equipment like a pool cleaner, or other tough pieces of hardware. Turn it off and get some professional advice.
4. Power systems
The pool power systems should have safety switches, away from the pool, and on separate fuses. Never touch or use switches attached to electrical equipment affected by water.
In any emergency situation, shut down the power from a point not directly in contact with the equipment, like the mains. Disconnect the equipment after shutting down, before restarting the power. Get a professional service, ASAP.