Pool-Related Emergencies What to do and How to Prevent Them

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    Dec 17, 2013
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Pool Cousins
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Pool-Related Emergencies – What to do and How to Prevent Them

Having a backyard pool can be fun and relaxing.  It gives you a place for your family to entertain, exercise, play, and unwind.  It can be the center of activity for your yard.  It can also be a hazard with potentially disastrous outcomes.  Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency and how to prevent these emergencies will help keep you and your loved ones safe around the pool.


Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children ages 1-4.  It only takes a couple of seconds for drowning to occur, and it can occur in as little as two inches of water.  If a person appears to be drowning (flailing arms, coughing, yelling for help, going under water) check the area and alert a lifeguard if one is available, then call 911.  It’s a good idea to install a poolside phone for such emergencies. 

Don’t enter the water to rescue the person if you are alone, unless you have been trained to do so.  If you’re in the water, stay back a comfortable distance.  It’s common that the victim will panic and grab the rescuer and push them under water in an attempt to be safe.  If possible, reach out with an object.  An object that floats is best, but even a towel may be all that is needed, to help the drowning person reach safety.

If the person is not breathing or is not responsive, perform CPR as needed and required.

Chemical Exposure

The chemicals used to keep pools clean and safe can be very dangerous in high amounts. Chlorine, for example, can dry and irritate the skin as well as aggravate asthma and can lead to other respiratory issues.  Be sure to keep chemicals locked up.  Don’t use more chemicals than recommended. 

Electrical Shock

Both water and chlorine are excellent conductors of electricity, making swimming pools very hazardous with electrical conditions. Stay out of pools during any lightning storms.  Ensure that all outlets near the pool area use ground circuit fault interrupter (GFCI), and keep all electrical devices away from the pool.

Too much exposure to the sun’s rays drastically increases the risk of skin cancer in the long run.  In the short view, sunburns can be painful and can even create open sores and blisters.  To avoid too much sun, stay in shaded areas when not in the pool and apply water-resistant sunscreen every two hours or after towel drying.  Wear swimsuit covers to reduce the amount of exposed skin, especially in the late morning or afternoon sun, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.


There are seemingly endless types of toys for the pool, including water guns, basketball hoops, and floating lounge chairs.  These pool toys offer hours of fun entertainment for swimmers, however, there are also risks associated with these toys.  To reduce the risk use only toys specifically designed to be used in pools and use them in the way they are designed.  When not in use, store them in a neat manner, away from the pool.

Author's Profile

Aquatech is a full service pool and spa company. They specialize in designing and building award-winning residential and commercial pools, as well as repair, renovation, and maintenance of existing pools and spas.

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