PHTA Supports Reintroduction of Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) announces its support of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act (VGBA), which was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week by U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-25). H.R. 4313 seeks to reauthorize and update 2008 legislation requiring every public pool in the United States to install safe drain covers that prevent suction entrapment, in an effort to decrease drownings in pools and spas.
H.R. 4313 has received bipartisan support in the House and has nine cosponsors, including Reps. John Carter (R-TX-31), Colin Allred (D-TX-32), Nikema Williams (D-GA-5), Mike Flood (R-NE-1), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), Deborah Ross (D-NC-2), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-7), and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5).
The VGBA allocates funding for grants that can be used for swim lessons, enforcing pool and spa safety laws, as well as educating communities about drowning and entrapment dangers. The legislation also expands program eligibility to non-profit organizations and Indian Tribes. If passed, the law would authorize $5 million per year from 2024 to 2029 for use in jurisdictions that have enacted a qualifying minimum swimming pool and spa safety law, such as the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code and ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 American National Standard for Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA) for Use in Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs.
"The core purpose of PHTA is to prioritize safety and health in pool and hot tub environments. We have been unwavering in our support for the reauthorization of the VGBA, recognizing its significant impact on saving lives," says Sabeena Hickman, CAE, President and CEO of PHTA. "PHTA is proud to play a role in the VGBA through the development of two industry safety standards that establish stringent requirements for suction outlet fitting assemblies and suction entrapment avoidance. By reauthorizing this legislation, we will ensure a substantial reduction in fatal drownings—a cause that deserves universal backing."
In the U.S., drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4. PHTA joins VGBA reauthorization supporters to help prevent drownings and near-drownings in pools and spas by increasing the layers of protection, extending grant program eligibility, and providing funds for education about drowning and entrapment dangers, as well as ensuring that the infrastructure and resources reflect the seriousness of this public health issue.
PHTA members and industry advocates are encouraged to support VGBA reauthorization advocacy efforts by reaching out to their Congressional representatives and voicing support for H.R. 4313.