BEDFORD -- As temperatures increase and residents prepare to open their pools or consider purchasing one, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes are reminding the community to take the proper precautions and adhere to state regulations to ensure a safe and happy summer of swimming.
"We want all residents to be able to enjoy themselves and cool off by the pool this summer," Chief Bongiorno said. "Please, make note of these safety tips to ensure that you and your family remain safe while enjoying the water."
More than 200 children drown in backyard swimming pools each year, according to the American Red Cross. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, so the Bedford Police and Fire Departments consider pool safety to be a top priority.
"Owning a pool comes with responsibility," Chief Grunes said. "Residents should always remember to properly secure their pool and follow the safety tips provided to prevent accidents and potentially dangerous situations."
Other factors to consider when installing a pool include zoning requirements, electrical clearances, utility easements, and contacting your insurance agency as pools require additional liability coverage.
The Bedford Police and Fire Departments reminds residents to follow these safety regulations and recommended precautions:
- Per Massachusetts regulation, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm floatation devices.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.
For a complete listing of Massachusetts building code regulations regarding swimming pools, click here.