Janay Rickwalder, the vice president of communications at the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, shares five entrapment avoidance guidelines.
What is entrapment? Entrapment occurs when someone becomes stuck to a drain or suction fitting in a pool or spa, either from water suction, or from getting stuck in an opening — even if the pumps are turned off. It is a serious potential hazard, particularly for children, who are too small to break away.
Have your pool inspected by a licensed industry professional. They can tell you if there’s anything else you need to do. If your pool has a missing or broken drain cover, do not use the pool. Have it replaced with one that is up-to-date and compliant with ANSI/APSP standards.
Never let anyone swim alone, especially a child. A responsible adult who can swim should always be with the child or actively watching. And never run your pump at higher speeds than the manufacturer’s stated maximum. High water velocity can contribute to suction entrapment.
Make sure your pool is protected with proper barriers such as fencing and safety covers to prevent unauthorized access. Additional safety measures include various alarms and self-closing/self-latching devices. also make sure there is an emergency shut-off switch that is clearly marked by a permanent sign and easily visible in the pool area so anyone can find and use it within seconds.
Don’t let anyone swim or play near drains and suction fittings. The suction at a main drain can be fatal. Maintain water clarity so when standing at the pool’s edge at the deep end, the deepest portion of the floor is visible including the drain cover.