When we hear about water safety we tend to believe that it is a seasonal issue that affects children and swimming pools. Water safety goes well beyond the pool. It includes lakes, canals, ponds, and other naturally occurring bodies of water, as well as areas in and around the house such as bathtubs, toilets, and buckets. Anyone at any age can fall victim to a water tragedy.
The Arizona Drowning Prevention Coalition notes that teenagers and adults are equally vulnerable to water-related incidents. Many factors contribute to the drowning of this population:
Teens and adults tend to overestimate their swimming skills.
The water conditions are underestimated (temperature, depth, invisible objects).
Alcohol, drugs, or medication sometimes play a role.
Life jackets are not used.
However, the most common element in adult water-related incidents is swimming alone.
You’re never old enough to swim alone. Children are taught that they have a supervisor and that as they get older they have to “swim with a buddy”. Same goes for adults. We have rules too.
Never swim alone and never swim impaired.
Always tell someone you are going to go to the pool or hot tub.
Do not take any prescription or over-the-counter medication that may make you sleepy before entering any body of water. If you are not sure, contact your doctor.
Never mix alcohol with water-related activities. The water temperatures in hot tubs can accelerate the effects of alcohol.
Water wings & life jackets
It doesn’t wing it when it comes to water security. There is a misconception that water wings prevent a child from drowning. The truth is that they offer a false sense of security.
Water wings and other devices that require inflation are NOT safety devices.
“Anything you blow up is likely a toy,” said Lori Schmidt, Scottsdale Fire information officer and president of the Arizona Drowning Prevention Coalition. “A declaration is printed on the packaging that this is not a personal swimming device. Water wings are not a substitute for a life jacket and supervision. “
Lending program for life jackets:
The DPCA has partnered with the Ryan Thomas Foundation and other state and local agencies to set up life jacket rental stations on several lakes and rivers. The stations are located near the dock and allow boaters to use a life jacket from the rental station and return it at the end of the day.
Life jackets can be purchased online and at many retail stores for as little as $ 15. Some fire departments in the neighborhood distribute them free of charge.
“A life jacket is a small investment compared to the safety of your child,” says Schmidt.
Don’t be blue
The Aquatic Safety Connection urges us to think of bright and high-contrast colors when it comes to swimsuits. This photo shows the visibility of the colors at the bottom of a pool. The top photo in each section is the fabric underwater, and the bottom photo is the fabric with surface movement.
Swimsuit colors can disappear underwater. Choose colors that allow you to clearly see a child in the water.
The two colors below are white and light blue. Do you see them go away? Although the darker colors appear on a light pool floor, they can often be dismissed for a pile of leaves, dirt, or a shadow. Aquatic Safety Connection’s top picks would be neon pink and neon orange.
“Consider choosing a light-colored swimsuit, especially if there is a pool party with lots of people in the water,” says Schmidt. “But the key is to keep an eye on the kids all the time. No distractions. “
Maintenance of pool equipment
If you find that any of the main drain and / or suction grilles are loose or damaged in any way, contact a pool professional immediately.
It is important to ensure that all pools and spas have drain covers that comply with Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB) law to avoid the risk of entrapment that can occur if the water circulation system in a pool or spa is subjected to excessive suction results in someone being trapped underwater. The bill is named for Virginia Graeme Baker, a 7-year-old girl who died of drowning from being sucked on a broken drain cover.
Old, unsafe drain covers are flat and create a lot of blood circulation that can easily pinch hair or parts of the body if they get clogged. New, safer drains are curved so that no part of the body can ever completely block them. Parents should always confirm with pool and spa owners that they are using drain protection covers before allowing children to get in the water.
Who is maintaining your pool?
When it comes to new pool installations, renovations, repairs and / or pool maintenance, it is also important to hire a professional who is licensed, liable, insured and certified.
Don McChesney, general manager of Pentair – A&A Manufacturing and president of the Chapter of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance in central Arizona, suggests that homeowners seek recommendations from other customers for whom the contractor or service person has worked. “Check your company valuation with the BBB and the license with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. A licensed contractor must also be bound and provide proof of insurance. “
There are some phases of pool service and maintenance where the company or individual may not need to be a licensed contractor. If so, you still want to protect your home and property. “Make sure you have insurance in case you or any of your employees are injured while performing services on your property,” says McChesney.
In addition to licensing, hiring a professional to keep abreast of the latest technologies, techniques, and pooling laws and regulations is vital. Professionals who have certifications such as Certified Pool Operator, Certified Pool & Spa Service Professional, and others through the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance must continue their education to maintain their certification. This knowledge will be used to service and maintain your big investment – the pool.
Independent Pool & Spa Service Association members must purchase liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $ 1,000,000 and pass the IPSSA certification exam in water chemistry. Remember, it’s not just water that the technician is dealing with. There are chemicals that can cause serious injury and damage if improperly handled and mixed.
Much of the water safety circulates in pools. Also keep your protective hat near other bodies of water.
The Red Cross recommends:
Make sure you are water literate of the natural environment before swimming – this is not your home pool!
Always enter unknown or flat water feet first.
Watch out for currents, waves, and underwater hazards – they’re not just found in the ocean.
Also, never hang around or swim behind the boat. Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including on-board generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much, causing them to lose consciousness and silently drown.
Don’t swim in canals – never!
Keep a safe distance from the edge of the ducts.
The channel sides are extremely smooth, which makes it difficult to get out.
Don’t let your children be near canals without an adult.
Stay away from automated devices at the water supply gates.
Never jump in to rescue pets or items such as toys. Call 911 for help.
Around the house water safety tips
The DCPA encourages children to stay within reach or near a bathtub, toilet, pool, spa, or bucket.
Never leave your child alone while bathing or in the care of older children.
Once bath time is up, drain the tub immediately.
Empty all buckets, containers and paddling pools immediately after use. Keep them upside down and out of the reach of children.
Keep the toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks.
Never leave your child unsupervised in a tub or near any body of water, even if they can swim.
Keep the doors to bathrooms and washrooms closed.
Children in baby bath seats and rings must be watched every second.
Pets aren’t the only ones who can fit through dog doors, even young children. Make sure the dog door does not lead directly to the pool area.
Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list. For more water safety tips, visit the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona, PoolSafely.gov, and The Red Cross.
Regardless of whether you have a pool, you will take some safety classes through the Red Cross. They provide CPR, first aid, water safety, and many others.
Keep the water safe all year round to keep you, your family, friends, and pets safe.
For more do-it-yourself tips, visit rosieonthehouse.com. Rosie Romero has been an Arizona home builder since 1988. She is the presenter of Rosie in the House radio program from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Saturdays on KGVY 1080-AM / 100.7-FM in Green Valley and from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.