Whether you are jumping off the high dive, swimming laps, or floating in the water, swimming pools are a fun way to beat the heat in the summer months. It's also important to remember that pools should be maintained to ensure optimal safety for all patrons. Here are a few tips and tricks for maintaining safety at the pool, whether you are a patron or certified pool operator (CPO).
- Put on broad spectrum sunscreen that filters out both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 15 or higher before going outside. Reapply if you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours and after swimming, toweling off, or sweating.
- Do not swim if you are sick or have an open cut or wound.
- For those who need them, use a well-fitting, Coast-guard approved life jacket.
- Keep an eye on children at all times - children can drown in seconds and in silence.
- Take routine bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.
- Dry ears thoroughly after swimming to avoid Swimmer's Ear.
- Follow safety signage posted throughout the facility and listen to lifeguards for further safety guidance.
- Routinely (at least once per month) submit a water sample to a laboratory certified by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to be analyzed for coliform, pseudomonas, and E.coli.
- Ensure at least one unit of life-saving equipment is available for each 1,500 square feet of water surface area and is mounted in visible places around the pool deck during normal operations.
- Facilities should have a written emergency action plan that includes response protocols for drowning, severe weather, serious illness or injury, chemical-handling accidents, and other serious incidents.
- A chemical hazard warning sign should be visible on the door or entrance of a room where chemicals are stored.
- Lifeguards are required at municipal and school swimming pools of any size and other swimming pools having a water surface area of 1,500 square feet or larger.
- No diving is permitted where the water is 5 feet deep or less, except for the purposes of competition or training.
- Swimmers should have access to showers, dressing areas, and sanitary facilities that are clean and free of debris.
- A swimming pool that is 8 feet deep or more should be closed if the main drain is not visible from the deck. A swimming pool or spa that is less than 8 feet deep shall also be closed if the grate openings on the main drain are not clearly visible from the deck.
- Electrical outlets on the deck, shower room, and pool treatment room should be properly installed with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) at the outlet or at the breaker serving the outlet. These outlets should be tested at least once per month, and testing dates and records should be included in the pool records.
- No chemicals toxic or irritating to humans may be added to the swimming pool or spa while in use. When chemicals are added to the water from the deck, the swimming pool and spa should be closed for use for at least 30 minutes. All chemical additions should be included in the pool records.
- A spa containing 500 gallons of water or less shall be drained, cleaned, and refilled once per week. A spa containing over 500 gallons to 2,000 gallons shall be drained, cleaned, and refilled every 2 weeks. A spa containing over 2,000 gallons of water shall be drained, cleaned, and refilled every 3 weeks.
To ensure area aquatic facilities are in compliance with safety protocols, Linn County Public Health inspects each public pool or spa on an annual basis. During inspections, our inspector checks chemical levels in the pool and spa, ensures proper documentation of levels and chemicals, looks at pool or spa drains to confirm compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pook and Spa Safety Act, checks spa temperatures, and provides education to facility managers and CPOs. Watch this video to see a pool and spa inspection in action.
By working together, our community and local aquatic facilities can follow safety measures to keep pool patrons and staff safe and healthy throughout the summer. Learn more about aquatic safety at Linn County Public Health.