Ensuring Pool Safety

We want to make sure our pool is outfitted with the right equipment in the event of an emergency.

Your first step in ensuring safety at your pool is to hire and train staff to handle any emergency. In addition, you need to consider essential emergency equipment. Some key equipment to keep on-site includes a backboard, head immobilizer and rescue tube.

Look for a backboard constructed of medium-density polyethylene for high impact resistance. Models with a concave structure minimize lateral movement, while foam-filled versions are also suitable for water rescue. Make sure the units are Haz-Mat-impermeable and made with FDA/UL-approved resin. Units with more handholds and child-strapping locations make for easier use. Head immobilizers are recommended for use with backboards, and should come with hygienic foam head supports and chin straps that can be adjusted for a secure, comfortable fit.

A rescue tube is also a smart piece of safety gear to have on hand. Traditional wraparound rescue tubes are effective at the beach, lake or pool. These can be handed to a victim for a close-in assist or used to reach struggling victims without contact, tow a passive or unconscious victim, or even support a rescuer. Look for tubes made from materials that won't rot or mildew. A safe, quick-release buckle and long tow line with a long looped end can make it easier to pull victims to safety.

Another key piece of equipment to consider is a First Responder Kit specifically developed for the first arrival onto the scene. Look for a complete kit with an empty aluminum cylinder, oxygen regulator, nasal cannula and disposable bag mask resuscitator. An emergency phone also can be helpful. ADA-compliant units are available that are hands-free and specifically designed for swimming pools. These feature push-button activation and hands-free speaking; a built-in auto-dialer that can call two numbers; an auto-answer that allows security to monitor and initiate calls; raised "emergency" lettering and Braille signage. They should be powered by the phone line and need no power supply or battery backup.

Smaller accidents will be more common, so you might also consider making a first aid kit available, stocked with a variety of medical supplies. Busy facilities can find bulk first aid kits appropriate for anywhere from 25 people up to 100 people.

A general first aid kit should be equipped to handle most minor bumps, bruises and sprains.

Properly equip your lifeguard staff with safety accessories as well, such as a whistle loud enough to be heard under water. Lifeguard responder kits are also available, and come with first responder items such as emergency survival blanket, bandages, rescue breathers, gloves, wipes and a whistle.

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