Backyard pools can provide oceans of fun, whether you like to swim and do laps or simply cool off under the sunlight with family and friends. But to paraphrase Spider-Man, “with great luxury comes great responsibility.” With that in mind we come to one of the most important concerns of any pool owner: pool safety. Lets examine some of the most crucial pieces of equipment for keeping your pool area safe.
If little feet are running around in your backyard, you’d better make sure that they never get near the pool unsupervised. The best way to prevent that from happening is to enclose the pool area with a fence. As one of the most important accompaniments for any type of pool design, fencing can be selected in various styles. The most childproof option is four-way isolation fencing, which will enclose your pool around all four sides within your backyard. Another option is perimeter fencing, which would encase your pool like a shoehorn to the back-door area of your house. If you intend on having adults over for pool parties, you might opt instead for removable fencing, which can easily be set aside whenever the backyard area gets crowded with guests (which is bound to happen when you have a great pool!)
Of course, fencing is not the only way to keep children, cats and dogs out of the pool; you could always opt for netting whenever the pool is not in use. In as little as five minutes, a net can be placed over just about any backyard pool; all you would have to do is fasten the net hooks to the poolside anchors. Designed to withstand the heaviest of objects, pool nets serve as safety barriers whenever children wander into pool areas unsupervised.
What about those times of year when swimming and outdoor lounging are the last things on your mind? That, my friend, is what pool covers are for. It’s important to note here that winter pool covers only function as safety covers if they can withstand roughly 500 pounds of pressure per five-ft. radius. When it rains in Greenwich, a mesh cover will provide the cleanest protection by allowing precipitation to slip through the small surface holes. You could also opt for a solid vinyl safety cover, but in order to prevent the buildup of rain puddles, you should only choose one with drain panels.
Now that you know how to keep the kids out, you might be wondering how to keep intruders from entering your pool area? Well depending on your pool design and layout, you could foolproof the area with either a gate or door alarm. If your pool is enclosed with a four-sided fence, a gate alarm will attach to the entrance and activate upon signs of an intrusion. For a pool area that’s partially enclosed by the backdoor portion of your house, you could simply opt for a front-door alarm and keep your whole house protected in the process.
Then again, alarms can also be used as another type of childproofing mechanism. If you like that idea, your best bet is either a perimeter alarm or wave sensor. Mounted to your pool fence, a perimeter alarm will sound off whenever an unsupervised child crosses its beam. Attached to the edge of your pool, a wave sensor will activate if any child, dog or cat makes contact with the water. These devices will generally cover an eight-yard radius and emit decibel levels of up to 110.
Now that we’ve covered all the devices that will stop little people and non-swimmers from falling into your pool, it’s time to talk about one of the most lethal of all underwater dangers: pool drains. Due to a number of incidents where swimmers got their hair and limbs caught in the suction of those damn things, federal law now requires the installation of safety drains. On pools built before the Dec. 2008 passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) will create a suction release whenever body parts or foreign objects make contact with a drain.
With all these things considered, you owe it to yourself to have a pool installed in your backyard. A pool can provide tons of fun for you and your friends and family; it can also add value to your property. But if you do go ahead with the plan, your pool should uphold Greenwich pool safety standards and be accompanied with sensor alarms, fencing and an anti-suction system.