Summer is sizzling again here in Chicagoland, so backyard pools are currently the coolest spots in the city. You splash, laugh and relax while you beat the heat. Everyone takes precautions too with sunscreen and bug spray, and you play it safe with life jackets and swim rings.
Does safety around your swimming pool also include awareness of potential water and electricity dangers?
The two can be a deadly combination. As one of Chicago’s largest fire cleanup companies, we see extensive property damage and serious personal injuries caused by electrical fires every summer. Surprisingly, pool equipment can often be the source.
8 Cool Pool Rules for Water and Electricity Safety
From watching the grill to respecting Chicago’s fireworks ban, you do all you can to keep backyard fun safe. When you’re around the pool, these eight rules help protect everyone from the dangers of water and electricity.
1. Hire a Licensed Professional
If you’re installing a new pool or need repairs on existing equipment, hire a fully licensed, experienced electrician. The National Electric Code includes strict rules for the safe installation and repair of pools and hot tubs.
2. Test Your GFCIs
All pools and spas run with special outlets and circuit breakers that reduce water and electricity dangers. You probably have smaller versions of these ground-fault circuit interrupters in the bathroom and kitchen. Test outdoor GFCIs once a month for proper operation.
3. Try to Cut Cords
Unplug outdoor radios, TVs and musical equipment. Replace them with battery-powered devices to power up your backyard safety factor. Keep appliances that must be plugged in at least 6 feet away from the pool.
4. Protect Outdoor Outlets
Double down on protecting outdoor plug-in appliances and equipment with special outlet covers. It only takes a quick splash of water on an exposed electrical outlet to cause a short or throw a spark. That can be enough to start a fire or set up an electrocution hazard.
5. Make Safety a Habit
Keep everyone safe around the pool by drawing up a set of guidelines for your backyard getaway. The Red Cross is a great resource for summer safety information. Make sure your rules include staying out of the pool during thunderstorms and never handling electrical equipment while you’re wet.
6. Make Inspections Routine
Over time, aging or damaged pool equipment can develop undetected problems that pose serious electrical hazards. Set up a regular inspection schedule with your electrician, and ask him to double-check your pool’s system after storm damage or electrical problems at the house.
7. Know How to Power Down
While your electrician takes care of inspection duties, ask him to show you how to shut down power to the pool area. The switch is usually located near pumping equipment and mounted on an exterior wall. In case of an emergency, you want to know exactly where it is and how it works.
8. Know When to Get Out
Dimming lights, a sputtering pump or overheated motor can mean trouble. If equipment develops frayed wiring or an ozone smell, don’t take chances. Don’t ever ignore signs of electrical problems in or around the pool. Get everyone out of the water immediately, and call your electrician right away.
Understanding the Signs of Electrical Shock
We all know what happens when water and electricity mix. However, not everyone understands the first signs of an electrical shock while swimming. If you experience a tingling sensation, muscle cramps or a sense of being held in place, call for help, and get out of the pool.
If you believe someone in the water is suffering an electrical shock, immediately turn off all power. Use a fiberglass rescue hook to help bring the swimmer to the edge and out of the pool. Don’t ever go into water you suspect may be carrying an electrical charge.
Wishing You a Safe Summer
If you have any concerns about electrical equipment in or around your pool, contact one of the local electricians or fire restoration contractors near you. Different trades and professions across the city are always happy to make recommendations so that you can hire with confidence.
We’re happy to share our city-wide network too, so just let us know how we can help through our Comments Section. We’re proud to be one of the most highly recommended fire cleanup companies in Chicago and the suburbs. From our family at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba to yours, we wish you a sensational and safe summer.