Swimming Pool Safety: 6 Things Your Association Should Do
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Summertime is swim time, and for the most part, it’s a plunge into carefree fun. But without the right swimming pool safety practices, your residents and association could be at risk.
When you consider the sheer number of pools and swimmers in North America, safety becomes even more important. Swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children and teens ages 7 to 17 in the U.S. They have ample opportunities, with 10.7 million pools in the country. The overwhelming majority of those - 10.4 million - are private pools.
In Canada, there are around 1.1 million pools. The most recent studies available place swimming as the third most popular sport of choice in that country, trailing only extremely popular mainstays like hockey and golf. More than a million Canadian children participated in a swimming program in 2017.
Clearly, swimming pool safety is paramount. Here are some tips to keep in mind all summer long.
1. Supervise children.
Ideally, your community pool is staffed with a trained and certified lifeguard. A good property management company can help you hire this professional, and they can assist with ongoing training, too. Remember that your busier pool hours may require multiple lifeguards. In some states, like New Jersey, pool size is a factor in lifeguard requirements.
“It’s important to have a policy that all children under a certain age must be accompanied by an adult, preferably a parent or guardian,” said Rick Dingle, vice president at FirstService Residential. “If you don’t have a lifeguard, you must post signs indicating that there is no lifeguard and that all using the pool are swimming at their own risk and indicating basic safety rules such as no glass, no running, no diving, etcetera.”
3. Create better swimmers.Have you considered hosting swim lessons in your community pool? This approach offers multiple advantages – the biggest being lives saved through better swimming skills. The secondary plus is that it’s a great way to get community members together so they can build neighborly rapport.
2. Educate to save lives.Whether you have a lifeguard or not, the more people trained in CPR and emergency response techniques, the better. Sponsor community-wide educational opportunities in your condominium or master-planned community. Invite staff and residents to become certified in CPR, first aid and more. Your local Red Cross can be a great resource! A community management company can be instrumental in helping you implement these programs.
4. Make the rules – and enforce them.Your pool rules should be clearly posted. To minimize risk to your residents (and your insurance costs), set policies around diving, running, smoking, glass bottles and alcohol use. Encourage residents to always swim with a friend. Don’t stop at posting these rules at the pool... social media, your community website and newsletters are great places to share your policy, too. Consistent enforcement of these pool rules is essential to their effectiveness.
5. Ensure you have the right enclosures.Make sure you’re familiar with your local laws regarding swimming pool enclosures. Most cities or counties have very specific requirements for how far an enclosure is from the water’s edge, how the entrance gate should function and more. Following these rules isn’t just a matter of compliance – it’s a matter of saving lives. Property management companies are well versed in the law, and they can help you make sure your pool meets these important requirements. If your community is self-managed, consult your association attorney about local laws and regulations.
6. Stay on top of maintenance.
The last thing you want during pool season is a malfunction or a breakdown. We have tips to help you avoid those headaches – just look here and here. Make sure your safety equipment is in good working order, and watch those chemical levels to make sure they’re adjusted for the season. Also, encourage residents to swim only when they’re healthy – community pools can be a place for viruses to spread.