Electricity and Swimming Pools

In Blog by Timothy Petsch

I read a tragically sad story in a pool trade magazine this morning; about a father who died from an electrical shock he received as he was trying to pull his son, who was floating, face down, in a fountain in a shopping mall. Unfortunately, they did not survive.

So, I jumped online and found out that in the years from 2002 -2018 there have been 47 incidents involving electricity and water with 33 deaths. That is 1 per quarter, and for an advanced country like ours, that is a lot, although statistically, perhaps not.

How do accidents like this happen? The fountain in the beginning of this blog, was not mechanically or electrically maintained; it seems they had a chemistry pool service, but performed no Preventative Maintenance, which should have incorporated an annual safety check with written reports made available to management.

What would a potential electrical problem look like:

  • Extension cords on the deck or around the pool
  • Electrical sockets with no safety covers
  • Underwater lights pulling away from the pool wall, or flickering
  • Radios, TV’s and other electrical devices being used around the pool
  • Sagging overhead power lines

What should you do if you see, or suspect electrical current in the water:

  • Clear the pool, make sure no one goes in the water
  • Find the electrical breaker(s) and switch them off
  • Call 911 if you suspect that anyone might be injured

What you do not want to do:

  • Dive into, or stand in the water to rescue anyone in trouble
  • Use the metal ladder in the pool or any metal pole to try to help someone out of the water

Even though the statistics show that this is not a huge problem, it never hurts to keep one’s eyes open, especially when visiting a pool for the first time or being responsible for minors.