Summer is officially here. A few years ago, I witnessed the heroic efforts of a bystander revive a young child that nearly drowned at a community pool. Needless to say, as a mother to two young children, I was rattled to the core by the events of that day. Pool safety is something we all need to keep an eye on.
The American Red Cross has a complete list of safety guidelines. If you have a community pool, I encourage you to download this Red Cross Manual on Swimming and Water Safety and provide to members at your next board meeting. Below are some tips that I think are important for associations to consider:
- If you have the option and the finances to hire a lifeguard, seriously consider doing that for the months/times the pool is open
- Pool rules should be clearly posted
- Encourage pool users to swim with a buddy; never swim alone
- Never take your eyes off a young child at the pool
- Use non-slip materials on surfaces such as pool decks, diving boards and ladders to prevent pool-goers from falling/slipping
- A fence of at least six feet (or whatever your city or county code requires) should surround all side of the pool with a locked gate
- Check (or have a vendor check) the pool often for cleanliness and upkeep
- Have a sign posted on the pool deck which provides the address of the pool (in case a pool-user needs to provide address of pool to 9-1-1 dispatcher). If your pool has a phone, this sign should be posted near the phone.
- Have a sign posted that provides CPR instructions
- Make sure that any railings to be used to get in and out of the pool are properly insulated from heat so that no one burns themselves when they climb in or out of the pool.
- Prohibit alcohol in the pool area
Does your association have a resident or vendor who likes to “prop open” the pool gate for convenience purposes? For safety and liability reasons, your board should take a proactive stance regarding the improper propping open of a gate/fence. First, the board should consider adopting and enforcing a rule stating that propping open the pool gate/fence at any time is prohibited. The association should also notify homeowners and all vendors (i.e. pool companies/landscapers who might prop a gate open) of rules/policies prohibiting propping open of a gate/fence in writing (i.e. letters, newsletters, etc.). Our firm also suggests that a board post sign(s) at all pool gates and in the pool areas stating the safety rules including the rule that propping open the pool gate/fence at any time is prohibited; also state that these rule(s) were enacted to protect the health and safety of all residents/guests; and that violators will be fined after notice and an opportunity to be heard for a violation. Additionally, we suggest that the board research an alternative to deter owners from propping open the pool gate. An effective method is to install a gate alarm. When attached to the gate, the alarm creates a loud beeping noise if the gate is propped open. This can be an annoyance to owners living near the pool so the board will need to weigh the pros and cons of a gate alarm vs how serious this issue is at your association.
If the association’s CC&Rs allow the board to revoke residents’ common area pool privileges for violations of the pool rules and regulations, our firm suggests that the board revoke pool privileges for violations of pool safety rule(s). Have a great summer and be safe in and out of the water!