Warm, sunny days beckon families to enjoy outside fun. Sometimes cooling off with a dip in a swimming pool is the answer.
Children don’t often understand the dangers lurking in and around a pool. It is not only important to understand your pool’s electrical system, but also to remind your family that water and electricity do not mix.
“We want your family to be safe this summer when enjoying activities involving the presence of water. The phrase, ‘Water and electricity don’t mix,’ is heard often. However, it’s so important to understand that water is a conductor for electricity. The extra minute you take to clear electrical safety hazards from the pool area can save a life,” stated Amanda Steeb, director of communications and marketing for Kankakee Valley REMC.
Simple measures can go a long way in preventing injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides the following tips for pool-side safety:
- Know where all the electrical switches and circuit breakers for pool equipment and lights are located and how to turn them off in an emergency.
- Make sure all electrical wires and junction boxes are kept at least five feet away from water.
- Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on underwater lighting circuits that are 15 volts or greater. GFCIs should also be installed on all electrical circuits around pools and hot tubs, and on all outdoor receptacles within 20 feet of the water’s edge. GFCIs are the best device to prevent electrocution. Following an incident in Miami, the CBS affiliate reported that most pools built before 1984 have 120-volt underwater lights. A Miami electrician suggested that if a system is operating at 120 volts, it should have a transformer installed to step down the voltage to 12 volts.
- Test GFCIs monthly to ensure continuous protection. Always wear shoes while testing.
- Consider using battery-operated appliances instead of cord-connected appliances around pools.
- Refrain from swimming during or right after thunderstorms.
The CPSC recommends posting an emergency plan by the pool advising what to do if someone comes into contact with electricity. The first step should be to turn off all power, then call 911. A fiberglass shepherd’s hook (a non-conductive device) should be kept near the pool and be used to pull the victim from the water.
Kankakee Valley REMC wants you to enjoy safe, family fun this summer.