Safety Through Education

By John Garner, Sr., Pools by John Garner / garnerpools@comcast.net

In today’s world, society leads some to look to the government for protection, more laws, and more control of our lives; I think it is time to look in the mirror. Each morning we should each look at our reflection and ask, what can I do to make my life and the lives of my loved ones safer?

The simple answer is education; not more laws and codes. Too many times laws and codes are put in place without science, testing, technology, or consulting the professionals who produce the products we use every day and take for granted we are safe.

Here in the Florida Swimming Pool Association, a volunteer trade organization, we are made up of the cream of the crop, the best of the best. We have been on the leading edge of the pool and spa industry promoting pool and water safety.

We are active in helping to serve on code writing committees and testing to make our products happy, fun, and above all else, SAFE.  For many decades, our public pools have been built with gravity systems with no direct connection to the suction side of the pump. Based on research, there has never been an accident involving this type of circulation system. We also have the Department of Health to thank for their permitting and bi-annual inspections of public pools to ensure these pools continue to operate in the same safe condition as when they were first constructed, and when necessary, brought in line with current codes.

Most of the public is not aware that the homes they buy, and their backyard pools, are not inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are safe. These structures receive a final inspection and a Certificate of Occupancy when construction is completed. No further inspections are required. Maybe you get the home inspected by a certified home inspector – especially since most mortgage companies require an inspection. I am sure these companies look for the obvious – roof condition, structural condition, mold, proper operation of equipment, plumbing, foundation conditions, and electrical systems.

It should be a common practice however to have a qualified electrical engineer inspect the home and pool for the electrical system, grounding, and bonding. A quick search on the internet will support this opinion in the testing of residential homes and pool electrical systems.

A volunteer testing of the home electrical system should be done annually by a qualified contractor. Any electrocution, especially of a child, is a needless tragedy.   Most of these electrocutions are preventable and are due to faulty electrical systems or appliances. Qualified, licensed contractors should always be hired to work on a home or pool. Each year home electrical problems alone account for over 53,000 fires in the United States. These fires cause more than 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Home electrocutions account for another 400 deaths.

It is up to you to keep your home and loved ones safe. Learn more about your home electrical system on the Electrical Safety Foundation International website (www.esfi.org).

With the holidays approaching, an inspection of your home's electrical system by a qualified electrical contractor would be in order, especially on older homes.  The additional load on your electrical system with holiday lighting could be a potential hazard.

We at the FSPA are committed to safety first. I wish you all a safe and blessed holiday season.