Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pool Safety

Hempstead "Sounds the Alarm" for Pool Safety
June 21, 2010

Before the summer solstice marks the official start to the 2010 summer season on June 21, three Long Island children have already drowned in homeowner swimming pools. In the wake of these recent tragedies, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray has partnered with Cablevision and King Kullen to promote pool safety and help prevent accidental drownings. The group has commenced a media campaign and will disseminate a brochure to all town residents on the subject of swimming pool alarms and pool safety.

"Each summer, children tragically drown in homeowner swimming pools," Murray said. "To prevent more devastating pool accidents from occurring this summer, we're working hard to educate pool owners, parents and grandparents of children who may swim in neighborhood pools. There are positive and important safeguards and practices that we can undertake to protect our kids."

To safeguard children from the hazards associated with swimming pools, Murray passed legislation in 2008 requiring all pools in the town to be alarmed. Under Murray's pool alarm law, all homeowner swimming pools located in unincorporated areas of the town must have an alarm capable of detecting a child entering the water. A poolside alarm must emit an 85-decibel alert and a remote device must be located at a second site in the home. The town's law is more stringent and comprehensive than current New York State law, which mandates pool alarms only for pools built or significantly altered after December 14, 2006.

"A pool without an alarm is an invitation for disaster," Murray said. "This law is helping to save countless young lives."

Along with a campaign to raise awareness of the town's pool alarm requirements, Cablevision will air a public service announcement and Murray is promoting pool safety with informational brochures and mailings. The pool safety guide mailed to all residents discusses pool alarm requirements and the benefits of using the safety device. Additionally, the brochure discusses a host of pool safety tips, including the following issues:

-Never leave a child alone or out of sight at a pool
-If a child is missing, check the pool first
-Secure or remove steps on above ground pools when not in use
-Never use a pool with a broken or missing drain cover
-Keep emergency rescue equipment and emergency phone numbers by the pool
-A rope float line should be placed across the pool, alerting swimmers of the separation of the deep end from the shallow end
-All pools must be permitted by the local town/jurisdiction and are required to have physical barriers surrounding them (many other safety restrictions also apply)

"Pool alarms and other safety measures are important safeguards against accidental drowning," stated Murray. "However, there is no substitute for vigilant adult supervision around the pool."

Teaching children to swim is also an important component in preventing accidental drowning. Each summer, the Town of the Hempstead teaches thousands of kids how to swim at various locations throughout the township.

"Every parent, grandparent and friend to a child should be aware of life saving pool safety information," Supervisor Murray concluded. "You can protect your loved ones and enjoy a safe summer in and around your pool."

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