LEE COUNTY- There is a hidden danger sitting at the bottom of every swimming  pool -the drain. If you have a single main drain that isn't properly maintained, the suction power could be strong enough to hold an adult under water and could be deadly for a child.

On August 18, 2000, Donna Bucy and a friend sat nearby as her sons 8 year old Jordan and 6  year old Harrison went swimming in their pool.

"Jordan and Harrison were going back and forth from the pool to the Jacuzzi," said Bucy.

One of the boys asked her to turn on the Jacuzzi, which she did. "And Jordan said thanks Mom I love you," said Bucy.

A few minutes later, Harrison told her Jordan wouldn't get out of the spa.

"They jumped on the cap and it broke and Jordan was down there trying to fix it," said Bucy.

But the drain's powerful suction held him underwater.

"I jumped in, went down to get his hand out and it was lodged in the drain," said Bucy.

Her friend tried, but Jordan's hand wouldn't budge. The suction, she says, was too strong.

"I went around to turn off the pump, went to the garage, turned off the breakers,  then got a phone to call 911. All could think of is not my son, not my son," said Bucy.

Donna Bucy estimates Jordan was underwater at least four minutes once the suction released. He died in the hospital four days later.

Bucy is not alone in her grief. An estimated 124 entrapment accidents have happened in the past 13 years, 25 resulted in death. So how do you know if this can happen to you?

"It can happen. No two ways about it," said Ron Schroader, Aquatic Safety Consultant.

A standard pool drain pulls water out to be filtered in the pump, which directs it back into the pool. The concept is the same in a spa.

Pool contractor-turned consultant, Schroader says a simple grate- type cover, common in older pools, can be dangerous for someone who covers the grate with their body.

"If they laid on top, skin can be pulled underneath and we'll have an mechanical lock," said Schroader.

Just as frightening, ABC7 has discovered that at least 5 children in the last several years were disemboweled as they sat on an uncovered drain. But those cases happened in shallow, public wading pools where children can easily sit on the drain.

"The suction of a drain of a pool is strong enough to hold an adult male underwater," said Colin McTigue of Fulton Pools

ABC7 tried several scenarios.

First- an open drain in a 25-year-old pool with a normally buoyant basketball. The pump wheezed as the ball was held to the bottom. Once the suction was released, there was visible damage to the ball.

Second -a cracked version of an anti-vortex cover, which reduces suction power. Is common in newer pools.

The suction grabbed a hold of a small doll's hair. For a child, the cracked cover could be deadly.

In 2000, the Florida Building Commission changed the standard for new pools to include the anti~vortex cover and dual drains, which decreases the vacuum power.

But people like Ron Schroader, worry about potential hair, jewelry or clothing entanglement. Those types of incidents have accounted for 11 deaths and 40 incidents over the past 13 years. Schroader says education is the best defense.

 "Educate your children to stay away from drains. Drains are deadly," said Schroader.

"I can't believe that's what took the life of my son," said Bucy.

Jordan Bucy would have turned 14 in May.

"I miss raising a teenager. Harrison misses his brother. I miss raising 2 children," said Bucy.

The Florida Swimming Pool Association recommends you have a licensed, insured contractor inspect your drain cover. They will check that the plastic is in good condition and the screws are intact.

For additional safety, consider switching to an anti-vortex or what is called an anti hair-snare type drain cover. That's the pie-shaped cover that is now in Donna Bucy's Jacuzzi. There are also other more elaborate systems you can buy for your pool that will shut off if it senses any blockage.

Make sure you know the location of your pump cut-off switch and   most importantly stay away from drains and teach your kids to do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Water Solutions, Inc., Drainsafe drainsafe.com nor I, Ron Schroader recommend the use of one product or device over another.
 Products must be implemented as per system/job specific application . It is the obligation of the installer to understand the intended use and application prior to installation of any product or device.
We do however recommend the use of products certified via (NRTL) Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories as per ASME/ANSI A112.19.17 & ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 2007 Standards.
 All products must be installed as per manufacturers instructions and be job site specific to meet the criteria of each individual application.
 

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