Lawmakers in California, Texas,
Florida, Ohio and New Jersey have recently legislated all or part of these
protections. However, there are still states, such as Texas, that don't even
require contracting licenses for pool builders, allowing anyone with a back-
hoe and a business card to join the industry. It's states such as these
where pool builders are more likely to either not know or care about
standards mandated or otherwise.
Safety in numbers
The saying goes that
entrapment death is one too many
and, consequently, lawmakers should mandate safety requirements for the
way pools are constructed. .
But the reality is that solid
revealing the true
extent of suction entrapment would go a long way toward persuading the
cynics. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency charged
with gathering such data, says its numbers are not completely reliable. This
is due to a lack of awareness on the part of emergency personnel, who often
report entrapment casualties simply as drowning victims.
The quandary is that
entrapment incidences are relatively rare and this makes it easy for the
problem to slide under the radar.
Pat Taaffe, an
engineer with the Cedar Hammock Fire Department in Bradenton, Fla., says a
majority of rescue workers just aren't savvy about the suction entrapment
issue. "The personnel in my company didn't know about [suction entrapment]
until about two years ago," he explains. "In the past, we would have
reported it as a drowning or
The problem is that
rescue workers have more pressing tasks than worrying about the reports they
fill out hours after the incident has taken place, according to Dan Schmidt,
director of public information at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
Department in Virginia the department that responded in the Graeme Baker
case. A rescue worker's primary focus is saving lives.
Picture a busy
emergency room in a suburban hospital. Paramedics wheel in a critical
patient, lungs filled with water. An overworked doctor tries in vain to save
the young victim's life. In the wake