Florida is the number-1 state for pool ownership for obvious reasons. The year-round amazing weather makes them an option regardless of season, they’re a great way to escape the Floridian heat, and they’re a ton of fun. However, because there are so many pools in Florida, there are also a lot of deaths involving them.
This is largely due to inadequate security measures. You might get an alarm on your pool, but that’s just a security blanket when used by itself, or you might just get a fence that does absolutely nothing if someone manages to scale it.
The key to overcoming those obstacles is to layer protective measures. You don’t just rely on one. You build a system that prevents unnecessary deaths, legal liability, and unwanted “guests” at various steps between them and your pool.
Here are the ways to secure a pool and ensure your protection, the protection of neighborhood children, and the protection of your property.
1: The Base Layer: Get a Fence
First and foremost, a pool fence is absolutely necessary. In fact, it’s a legal requirement in many municipalities. Unlike other protective layers, a fence actively stops all but the most determined people from entering your pool area without permission. It’s the first line of defense, and often the only line needed to prevent all the problems we mentioned.
Fences come in all sorts of materials, designs, and qualities. You can fence in your entire yard as you would with a privacy fence, or you can opt for something that only surrounds your pool area to show off your well-groomed landscaping features while still promoting safety.
2: Gate Alarm
There are two types of alarms that we will talk about, today. The gate alarm is the most important.
It’s common for people to try to test your gate before they bother putting in the effort to scale your fence. If you leave the gate unlocked, that’s your fault. However, even if you lock it up when you’re not around your pool to monitor it, it’s possible for some lock types to be easily overcome, or the user might try to force it slightly before trying something else.
Having an alarm on your entryway will ensure you are notified as soon as someone tries this. As long as you lock the gate and arm the alarm, you’ll know that someone is attempting to get in, and you can take immediate action before your property or the intruder’s life are in jeopardy.
The gate to your pool isn’t the only place you want to set an alarm for, though. You should also set an alarm system up for your home’s entryways. Going directly through your home is an entirely different issue than a neighborhood child trying to open your gate and going swimming without permission, but it is possible for people to try to sneak in for a quick swim.
Having an alarm system, complete with cameras viewing the pool area and your entryways, can protect your pool and the inside of your home.
3: Pool Cover
One of the ways to secure a pool is by installing a pool cover. A pool cover is a crucial piece of pool equipment that should be engaged any time you’re not using your pool or in the pool area of your yard. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a cover that extends across the full surface of your pool to prevent debris, or even people, from entering it.
This is important because your first two layers of defense can fail. If a neighborhood child decides to scale your fence, or they find a spot that they can squeeze through, they can access your pool without triggering gate alarms.
Yes, you can see them on home security networks, but many systems don’t alert you every time someone comes into view. It would be an annoyance if they did. So, any recordings you gained would only be useful after the fact.
If your pool is uncovered, it’s very possible for a drowning to occur or for inconsiderate trespassers to use your pool as much as they want with you not knowing until long after the fact.
However, your pool cover needs to be a rigid option. The fabric and plastic covers can turn into death traps, rip, or otherwise not work well against anything other than debris. A rigid pool cover that can be secured until you’re ready to use your pool is a necessity.
4: Pool Alarm
A pool alarm alerts you if anything enters your pool while the alarm is armed. This is typically what people use as their only deterrent, but that’s more or less just a security blanket. In reality, your pool alarm should be a last resort. The last line of defense is to defend against disaster.
In terms of safety, this can be ineffective. The alarm doesn’t go off until someone is in the pool. If your child gets out of sight, or another child breaks in, you won’t know until they’re in the water, and that’s often too late. Most child drowning victims drown within three to five seconds, and that’s only if they know how to swim. It’s almost instantly if they haven’t learned to swim yet.
That doesn’t mean these are useless, though. The alarm going off can scare off adults trying to poach use of your pool while you’re gone, alert you to the presence of an intruder using your pool, etc.
A great way to use a pool alarm is in conjunction with a pool cover. Arming the alarm when the pool is covered will alert you to anyone who bypasses the cover and give you precious seconds to react, but it will be prevented from going off every time a random iguana makes its way into your pool; a fairly common problem for pool owners in the state and a major annoyance.
Solve Your Pool Safety Needs with Pool Guard USA
Securing your pool is about a lot more than keeping people off your property. It can prevent tragic accidents with both your children and children that aren’t supposed to be on the property, deter adult intruders who should know better, and even help keep your pool cleaner and protected from debris with certain layers of protection.
A summary of drowning prevention products and their role can be found in our Guide to Drowning Prevention Products.