Water safety is usually top-of-mind for pool operators and management companies, however, accidental drownings are an unfortunate reality in public and community pools. Causes vary but often include inadequate staffing, poor emergency procedures and lack of training. Fortunately, recent advancements in technology have made several new safety products available to public and community aquatic facilities. Each of these devices adds another layer of safety to protect swimmers and aide in rescue in the event of an emergency.
New Safety Products for Pools
Viking Emergency Dialer Pool Phone
This hands-free, two-way voice communication system provides a quick and reliable way for lifeguards or anyone who is poolside to call for help in the event of an emergency. With just the push of a button, the Viking Emergency Dialer Pool Phone will dial up to five pre-programmed emergency phone numbers and two central station numbers. The phone can also be programmed to automatically deliver a digital announcement to identify the location of the emergency call. This safety product is ideal for community pools at condos, apartments and motels with limited or no lifeguard coverage.
For outdoor pools, a EWP (Enhanced Weather Protection) enclosure can be added to protect the unit against heat and humidity. The Viking Emergency Dialer Pool Phone meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for emergency telephones and is phone line-powered, so it doesn’t need batteries or an external power source.
Stingl Switch – Safety Vacuum Release System
The strong suction of a pool or spa drain has caused many victims to drown by entrapping them underwater! Shallow wading pools designed for young children with easily accessible suction outlets and in-ground spas with flat suction outlet grates pose the greatest danger. With the passage of the Pool & Spa Safety Act in 2007, all public pools and spas with a single main drain or suction outlet must have an ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 compliant drain cover and a second type of anti-entrapment system, such as the Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) by Stingl.
The Stingl SVRS reduces the risk of pool and spa entrapment by shutting down the pump operation and sounding an alarm when a blockage in the main drain or skimmer causes a sudden rise in the vacuum level. The pump will remain off and the audible alarm will continue to sound until it is manually reset.
The Stingl Safety Vacuum Release System is designed to be easily retrofitted on all existing pools, hot tubs and spas and is easily installed during new pool and spa construction. For pool and spas that share one common pump, choose the Pool and Spa Combo model.
Additional Practices to Improve Water Safety
- Have two lifeguards on duty whenever the pool is open to ensure adequate scanning coverage and emergency management.
- Test and evaluate emergency action plans regularly and have the entire staff practice them monthly.
- Provide monthly in-service training to lifeguards to make them “rescue ready” so they know how to properly scan the bottom of the pool, recognize a distressed swimmer, and reinforce pool rules.
- Require deep water testing to identify non-swimmers.
- Restrict non-swimmers to shallow water and provide them with personal flotation device (life vests) or a water immersion alarm wristband.
- Ensure that lifeguards and staff are familiar how to use the facility’s water safety equipment.