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

In response to this incident, CPSC issued a recommendation that all spas be retrofitted with cut-off switches in plain view of the water, if they don’t already have one.

(At this writing, the New Jersey state legislature is expected to pass a law requiring such retrofits, as well as, requiring mandatory inspections of drain covers and prohibiting single suction drains.)

Another concept now under consideration by CPSC and other regulatory’ agencies is the use of an automatic cut-off switch. One such device currently under development is known as the Stingl Switch. Named for its inventor. David Stingl of McLean. Va. the device connects a vacuum switch to a pump’s strainer pot via a plastic tube. When the switch senses a sudden increase in vacuum pressure, it opens a relay wired to the motors power supply, thus turning off the pump and relieving the suction pressure.

Either type of switch could help prevent drowning, says Rowley, hut would probably do little to prevent injuries resulting from disembowelment.

"Some kind of shut-off capability may have saved the young woman in New Jersey," he notes. but in disembowelment accidents, the evidence indicates that these injuries take place in a fraction of a second once the child sits on the drain.

"Again, to solve that problem" he says, "we’re looking at eliminating single suction drains and conducting regular inspections of grates and covers."

WORDS OF WARNING

The final preventive measure is to simply warn people of the danger. On this front. CPSC. state and local health departments and other regulatory agencies have issued public health advisories about the dangers of suction entrapment.

"It’s never a bad idea to raise awareness," notes Rowley. "We’ll never know how many accidents will be avoided simply because somebody understood the risks. But it’s obvious that this is the least reliable method of prevention and we need to do much more."

Doing more, he says, boils down to some very simple measures. These include:

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 Prohibition of all single suction plumbing on any new construction.

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 Mandatory retrofits on commercial wading pools, spas and swimming pools with single suction plumbing,

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 Mandatory and frequent inspections of drain grates and covers in all commercial pools and spas.

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 The installation of handy shut-off switches at all commercial pools and spas that are not currently equipped with them.

Last, and most importantly, say’s Rowley, solving the suction-entrapment problem requires conviction and commitment.

"From an engineering standpoint. suction entrapment is not a difficult problem to solve," says Rowley. "Rather. It's a matter of raising awareness and having the guts to take the steps necessary to prevent these accidents.

"Obviously, we’ve known what to do about suction entrapment for a long time," he adds. "But 22 years after we conducted the initial study, we’re still just talking about what to do.

"If you ask me, the time for action is long overdue."

 

POOL & SPA NEWS NOVEMBER 20, 1996, Archive page 5

 

 

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