Continued...POOL & SPA NEWS NOVEMBER 20, 1996

Still, says Rowley. there is a logical way to tackle this problem. "If you look at these accidents in terms of risk and exposure." he says, "children in wading pools are at the greatest risk and have the greatest exposure because they tend to sit on the bottom of these pools. In other words, public wading pools are a good place to start retrofitting."

The state of North Carolina agrees:  Fueled by public outcry over a suction-entrapment accident there, the state in 1994 required that more than 150 public wading pools be retrofitted with dual suction plumbing. Pointing to this example as proof that a retrofit mandate is doable, Rowley notes that other states are also reportedly considering similar actions.

PROTECTIVE MEASURES

Another condition found in a vast majority of suction entrapments is the absence of a grate or anti-vortex cover-which could have served as a protective measure to prevent the accidents.

In many cases, the grate or cover was missing completely a fact that went unnoticed by the pool operators, lifeguards and service technicians. In other cases, the cover was loosened somehow, either by bathers or by degradation by chemicals and UV light. In yet other incidents, the grate or cover came loose or broke apart when the victim came in contact with it.

One of the primary conclusions of the 1974 Swimquip study was that it is impossible to become entrapped on a drain that is protected with a grate having 1/2-inch openings. "Most of the time, you can push yourself off the drain," Rowley explains. "You simply wiggle or turn to break the seal your body has created with the drain.  "But if there’s no drain cover or grate.  he adds, "you can't free yourself."

The study found that a grated cover was as effective in preventing entrapment accidents as were anti-vortex drains. For safety’s sake. CPSC has recommended mandatory inspections of grates and drain covers, noting that if the service technician or pool operator detects any damage at all, the pool or spa should be shut down until the grate or cover is replaced or repaired.

SWITCHING OFF

A third protective measure is the presence of a shut-off switch installed near the pool or spa.  At the facility where Nickens was entrapped, for example, there was no shut-off switch near the spa.  As a result, her would be rescuers searched frantically, but in vain.

 

POOL & SPA NEWS NOVEMBER 20, 1996, Archive page 4

 

 

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