Information in this blog post was found at www.cpsc.gov

Today I am going to gear this post toward pool safety. Not in the sense that you are probably think but rather I want to touch on the risk of electric shock in swimming pools. Since 1990 there have been over 60 deaths by electrocution and over 50 serious electricity related injuries due to faulty wiring in and around swimming pools. You might be thinking why would anyone have electrical lines around their pool area. You must understand that the majority of swimming pools have underwater lights. These lights can go bad in a couple different ways and result in stray electricity entering your pool water. In addition to lights many residential pools these days have automatic covers installed on them. This is another example of why there would be electricity near the pool. These covers need power to operate. Another possibility is that a homeowner may have power outlets around the pool for various reasons. Regardless of why there is power around the pool there should be no reason why people should be receiving electric shocks while swimming in their pool. A swimming pool is meant to be a happy place where people can relax and enjoy a hot summer day. It shouldn’t be a place where people are at risk of injury. Older pools are at greater risk of having an incident. The lights used in older pools were likely to have a full 120V going to them. Today many manufacturers are changing their light to a low voltage to prevent this type of thing from happening. What is likely happening is that the lights are failing and in some case water can get inside the light. Obviously this is a huge concern, especially if that light had 120V going to it. There could be other possibilities as well. If there is lighting around the pool then you will want to make sure that it is properly wired and grounded. Overhead wires can pose a threat as well. In some cases people have gotten shocked while cleaning their pools. When you are using a 16′ aluminum pole with a net or vacuum on the end of it you will want to be aware of where you are in relation to any overhead wires. The aluminum pole is a very good conductor of electricity and if it even lightly touches an overhead wire you could receive a shock. So how else can you take precautions agains electric shock in your swimming pool? Below is a list of things that you could do to help prevent and incident.

Electrical Cords:
1. Do not use and electrical cord that is damaged or repaired with tape.
2. Keep electrical cords, wires, and products out of reach and at least five feet away from the water.
3. Use portable GFI’s where permanently installed GFCI-protected outlets are not available. (These are the type of outlet that commonly has test and reset buttons on them. if there is a electrical surge they will pop and disrupt the current before it can do any damage.)
4. If an electrical product falls into the water, unplug it before retrieving it. Even submersible pumps which are design to operate under water may not be safe to use while someone is in the water.

Overhead Power lines:

1. Do not set up a storable pool or install a permanent pool within 25 feet of overhead power lines
2. While cleaning your pool keep long handled tools and poles away from overhead power lines including the ones going to your house.
3. hold long handled tools as low to the ground as possible.

Underwater Lights:
1. Signs of mold or other growth on the inside of the lens are signs of water leakage.
2. Have an electrician inspect the underwater lights and make sure that junction boxes and wiring connections are installed correctly.
3. Be sure that the power switch and GFCI for underwater lights are properly marked and easy to get to in case of an emergency.

General:
1. Know where all the electrical switches and circuit breakers are for the pool equipment, and light, and make sure you know how to shut them off in case of an emergency.
2. Know where all emergency equipment is located and how to use it.
3. Learn CPR and rescue breathing procedures.
4. Use battery operated products around the pool whenever possible – never set a plugged in radio near the pool.

For more information regarding swimming pool safety please visit www.poolsafely.gov or check out my other blog posts with safety in the title.

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