Keep your community pool-safe this summer

Encourage keeping rescue and first aid equipment available and having a phone kept nearby in case an emergency call needs to be made

By Tom Kiurski

Living in Michigan for my entire life, the outdoor pool season here is quite short. Folks living in the southern part of the country may never close their pools.

Whether you have a short or a long pool season, there are some tips that you can share with your community to help keep them safer during the summer months.

You can use the normal routes to distribute your information, including cable, television, print, as well as community group/association talks.

We have also visited pools during business hours to present safety information to staff and citizens, so see if you can work that into your plans.

As with anything that involves children, supervision is the key, especially around pools and spas with young children.

Pools and spas should have a four-sided fence with a self-closing gate around them. Do a little research and ask parents to consider safety covers and perimeters or in-water alarms as an additional measure of protection.

Children should be taught to swim when the parents feel that the child is ready, so seek swimming lessons for children.

Adults should consider taking a first aid and/or a CPR class, so have information on how they can sign up for these classes when you meet with audiences this summer.

Encourage keeping rescue and first aid equipment available at the pool, and having a phone kept nearby in case an emergency call needs to be made.

You should also do some online research into the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act that went into effect in December 2008 to help protect children from being entrapped in public pool and spa drains.

Ask the audience if they know about this law, as most adults do not. The Act is designed to make sure public pools have anti-entrapment drain covers and safety vacuum release systems (SVRS) that will automatically shut down the pump if something or someone becomes entrapped by the suction of the drain.

Have fun visiting with groups this summer, and use the opportunity to remind your audience about water safety tips.

About the author

Tom Kiurski has been in the fire service since 1981. He is the Training Coordinator and Director of Fire Safety Education for Livonia, Mich., Fire & Rescue. He has served as a firefighter/paramedic, engineer and lieutenant prior to his appointment as the training coordinator. He has earned an Associates Degree in Fire Science from Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., a Bachelors Degree in Fire and Safety Engineering Technology from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Tom teaches fire service-related courses at local colleges and fire academies. He has presented at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis seven times, as well as numerous state and local conferences. He has written more than 300 articles on fire safety education and training that have appeared in various fire service publications. Contact Tom at

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