GROVELAND — Chief Robert Valentine and the Groveland Fire Department would like to remind TOWN residents to take the proper precautions and adhere to state regulations regarding swimming pools this summer.
The American Red Cross reports that more than 200 children drown in swimming pools each year. Additionally, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Groveland Fire Department considers pool safety to be a top priority, and reminds residents to follow these safety regulations and recommended precautions:
- Per Massachusetts regulations, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water.
- Never jump or dive head first into an above ground pool or in the shallow end. Only jump or dive into the deep end of a pool where the minimum depth is 8ft.
- Be aware of who is an inexperienced swimmer before pool gatherings and keep an eye on them when they are around water to ensure they don’t accidently fall into the water.
- Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.
- Avoid roughhousing or play near the pool. This can lead to injuries including, hitting your head or drowning.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.
- Remember to wear and re-apply sunblock when swimming and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
Chief Valentine would also like to share the following tips on swimming safety from Safe Kids Worldwide:
- Watch kids when they are in or around water. Keep young children and weak swimmers within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure more experienced swimmers are with a partner every time.
- Choose a Water Watcher. When there are several adults present, choose one to be responsible for watching children in or near the water for a certain period of time, such as 15 minutes. After that specific time, rotate who watches them.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool. Open water can have limited visibility, unknown depth, currents and undertow, which can make swimming more difficult for children.
- Avoid distractions when your child is in or around water. Drowning is often silent and can occur in less than five minutes, so it is important to stay alert when children are swimming.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs, and update skills regularly.
- Residents are encouraged to teach your children to swim or enroll them in swimming lessons.
- Talk to your children about the importance of pool safety and advise them to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
Residents are encouraged to check with their local Building Department for additional information regarding pool regulations.
For a complete listing of Massachusetts building code regulations regarding swimming pools, click here.
For more swimming safety tips, click here.