As well as being a fun, healthy activity for all the family, bathing and swimming pools show commitment to a lifestyle that centers around wellbeing. As such, it’s important to take health and safety into account when constructing and maintaining your pool. It’s also essential that you’re familiar with any rules and regulations that could have an impact on your clients’ safety. We take a closer look at public pool equipment to make your installation secure and fully functioning.
Swimming in public pools: common risks
Public pools tend to have a large number of families and young children among their clients. According to France’s Federation of Swimming Pool Professionals, the majority of swimming pool accidents occur in pools that aren’t equipped with a safety system (1). In response, most countries (including France) have adopted laws regulating poolside safety to prevent drowning.
Nevertheless, a large number of the above accidents occur when the children are in the water. Even where security systems are present, it’s essential that a responsible adult supervise the children during the whole of their swim.
Security equipment in public pools
As first line of defense against accidents, pool alarms should be able to detect the presence of children weighing at least fourteen pounds, and should be loud enough to warn pool attendees and lifeguards. To ensure customer safety, the alarm should be positioned so it’s unlikely to be triggered at all movements, as well as being placed out of the reach of small children.
Pool alarms can be divided into two main types: buoy-style alarms, which are placed on top of the water to detect when someone enters the pool, and traditional perimeter alarms. Inexpensive and easy to use, pool alarms don’t take up a lot of space – just don’t forget to make sure they’re turned on prior to use!
Whether hard-top or soft-top, your pool cover should reach across the entirety of your swimming pool. Pool covers come in a variety of models, including automatic ‘rolling’ covers, a glass or polyester ‘roof’, an overlapping cover that extends partway poolside, or even a moveable floor. Foam and mesh models are not recommended.
Whatever your choice, your pool cover should be able to prevent toddlers and small children from falling into the pool, while remaining sufficiently solid to resist the weight of an adult without causing injury. As with pool alarms, care should be taken to put the pool cover fully in place after each swim.
Pool barriers are designed to prevent children five years old and under from accessing the pool. This means they should be sufficiently high (minimum three feet) to obstruct a child, as well as securely fixed between two points of support. A gate is also required – and an automatic gate offers extra security.
If you choose to include a pool roof when securing your pool, it should be fully closing in order to block access to the water. Like the other security measures mentioned above, it’s important to make sure your pool roof is properly designed and installed to reduce the risk of injury. Make sure it’s fully closed and locked once the pool is empty.
NB: France’s Federation of Swimming Pool Professionals recently issued an alert following a flood of inferior quality pool roofs onto the market. Be vigilant when selecting and installing your pool roof.
Other security equipment
Video surveillance offers an extra level of security for your pool. Today, it’s possible to include surveillance cameras within your pool’s walls or floor, with chlorine-resistant, high-definition models available for underwater installation.
When installing an outdoor or free-standing swimming pool, it’s important to choose a model including a safety ladder (handheld, inbuilt or automatic).
Finally, lifeguards and pool personnel must always have a net or ladder, a buoy, and a telephone within arm’s reach.