Again… “Is My Pool Safe?”

Bob Russell | August 8, 2013 in Equipment maintenance,Pool,Pool safety,Pool Service,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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It always shakes us up a bit to think that a swimming pool- a symbol of recreation, laughter and family summer fun- could be otherwise. The recent news of entrapment and near drowning in a swimming pool has again shaken the confidence of pool owners -or those who might consider owning a pool.
I have reviewed this issue before (see previous post).
The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) has released the statement below. For those of us here in Connecticut- we’ve been down this road before.
At Glen Gate- where safety is engineered into our design and woven into our service- we cannot imagine a swimming pool that is NOT safe. I must admit, I get mad over this issue. For us at Glen Gate, it is not only unacceptable to build or service a pool with entrapment risks, it is criminal.
When I do pool inspections for Real Estate Agents and see loose or missing suction outlet covers or other missing layers of protection I take the opportunity to educate and advise, and, I try hard to hide my anger. But, I have no problem advising a would-be Buyer or Real Estate Agent to find another service provider who gets it right.
My advice to all pool owners: 1) Find a licensed service provider! 2) Interview your service provider well; in CT,  ask them if they are licensed!
Safety and recreational swimming go hand in hand- it is basic and foundational!
The details of this incident are not yet out so I should temper my comments: I have found that most of the suction outlet problems I see in the field during inspections, are on pools or spas where the Homeowner is handling their own service. I do believe the pool industry has greatly improved in this area! While it’s not 100% yet, I think the facts will emerge- we’re dealing with another layer of “service providers” here, namely: unlicensed service providers, homeowners, caretakers and uncle Fred.
As far as I can see in Connecticut and New York, MOST service providers have gotten this issue right!
Thanks for reading.
Below is the APSP release.

Dear Member,
Yesterday a national recording artist’s son nearly drowned in a residential pool. While the specifics of the incident aren’t known at this time, there is some indication it was a limb entrapment due to a missing drain cover.
This serves as an important reminder about safety and entrapment avoidance in pools and spas, particularly residential pools and spas built prior to the enactment of the VGB and the
ANSI/APSP-7 Standard . This also creates a unique opportunity for you, the pool and spa professional, to reach out to your customers (as well as potential new service customers) and even local media to bring these pools into compliance with the ANSI-7 Standard, which was developed to eliminate this very hazard. The design recommendations and construction practices in this Standard are based upon sound engineering principles, research, and field experience. The Standard is referenced in the 2009 International Residential Code, the 2009 International Building Code, the 2012 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC), and has been adopted by many state and local authorities.
The ANSI/APSP-7 Standard allows for several options with regard to existing pools, including drain disablement or converting the suction outlet to a return inlet. Where suction outlets (drains) are used, they should be equipped with fittings (covers) that are certified in compliance with the ANSI/APSP-16 Standard for Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs as referenced by the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, along with one or more of the additional measures provided in the ANSI/APSP Standard (multiple main drain system, gravity flow system, engineered vent system or properly listed SVRS).
As you are aware, residential pools and spas are not required to meet these safety requirements unless specified in state or local code. Hence you should not make the statement that the pool must be upgraded because of federal law. You can point out, however, that public pools throughout the country are required to install new suction fittings and other necessary means, and that as a residential pool owner, they can get the same level of protection for their family and friends. Any pool with a missing or broken drain cover is at the highest risk for an entrapment incident.
Please also contact your customers and your local media to emphasize these important safety tips:
  • Never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken, or missing suction fitting or drain cover.
  • Immediately notify the pool or spa owner/operator if you find a loose, broken or missing drain cover.
  • Never play or swim near drains or suction fittings.
  • Contact an APSP pool and spa professional to repair and bring the pool or spa into compliance with the ANSI/APSP-7 Standard.
That is your consumer message.
Feel free to refer your customers and others to or for general drain cover safety information and tips. In addition, you can purchase brochures on Entrapment Avoidance Guidelines or copies of the ANSI/APSP-7 Standard from . Please offer your services to help replace and upgrade pool drain covers and do an inspection so that pools and spas can be enjoyed safely. It’s just good business.
Carvin DiGiovanni
Senior Director, Technical & Standards

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