Problem Solver - August 2007
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Protecting Your Locker Rooms from Water Damage

We'd like to keep our locker rooms clean and safe, but dripping swimsuits are making a slippery, messy situation.

First off all, give yourself a pat on the back. The mere fact that you recognize the potential hazards caused by dripping suits is an important step. Too often recreation managers devote so much time and energy making sure their pool and deck areas are well-kept, injury-free zones, they forget the importance of ensuring their locker rooms also are safe havens for patrons. Thankfully, with a little forethought—and a big assist from a little piece of modern-day technology known as a swimsuit water extractor—a safe locker room is within your reach.

In the past, many facilities simply posted "Slippery when wet" signs on the walls and hoped for the best. After all, the locker room is adjacent to a pool and the steam room. Who wouldn't expect the floors to be wet?

While patrons should anticipate wet floors, the recreation world doesn't work that way. Nothing threatens locker rooms like excess water. Slick floors increase the chances of patrons slipping and hurting themselves. And as recreation managers know all too well in this litigation-happy time, injuries can result in legal (not to mention financial) nightmares.

However, safety isn't the only reason to keep your locker room floors dry. Wet surfaces can do serious damage to your locker room. They can cause rust, mildew, warping, wood delamination, peeling paint and corrosion. These conditions make your locker room unappealing to patrons and jeopardize the facility's overall health. Even worse, they can threaten the area's fixtures and foundations as well.

There are many things you can do to minimize the messy problem. Select flooring that is clean, sanitary and slip-resistant. The floor should be able to tolerate constant exposure or water. Shower flooring also must be waterproof. Seamless systems are excellent options for preventing buildup in tiled floors. Some manufacturers even offer flooring with an anti-microbial additive that protects the floor from fungal staining, odor and inferior hygiene.

Of course, most facilities don't have the financial resources to revamp their locker rooms. And even those with the money to install state-of-the-art flooring are still searching for ways to improve safety without breaking the bank. Luckily, there's a quick, easy and affordable solution for all facilities, regardless of their size, budget or patronage.

Swimsuit water extractors can remove up to 95 percent of a swimsuit's moisture in 10 seconds. The machines—which cost between $1,300 and $1,400—will keep soaked suits from dripping on the floor. They'll also play an important role in keeping lockers dry and order-free.

The systems are a snap to install. A typical 55-pound machine comes with a wall-mount bracket for hanging and a moisture-proof electrical junction box to be hard-wired to your electrical system. It also allows for water disposal to be directed to a floor drain or piped to the wastewater system.

In addition to saving your floors, patrons also will appreciate this easy-to-use amenity. They won't have to waste time standing in front of hand dryers in a futile attempt to dry their suit. The machines also reduce theft and the unsightly clutter of hanging suits.

Extractor Corp.: