Survey to pinpoint pool problems


POSTED: Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Owners of about 1,380 private swimming pools and spas on Oahu will be surveyed this month to deal with safety concerns.

The state Health Department's Injury Prevention Program and the Swimming Pool Association of Hawaii are conducting the survey aimed at reducing children's injuries and deaths linked with pools.

Program epidemiologist Dan Galanis said that an average of one child between ages 1 to 4 drowns in a swimming pool every year in Hawaii. For every drowning among children that age, he said there are an estimated nine near drownings that require hospital treatment.

“;It is important for pool and spa owners to take a serious look at safety issues around their residential pools,”; state Health Director Chiyome Fukino said in a statement. “;A few easy fixes can make your pool at home so much safer, especially for young children.”;

A federal law enacted in December requires commercial or public pools and spas to upgrade drains and pumps for safety. Private or home pools are not required to make such improvements, but the department and pool association are preparing for a federally funded campaign with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to inform pool owners about problems.

Surveys will be mailed in monthly pool service billing statements, and owners are encouraged to complete the five questions. The confidential information will help guide safety education.

Association members will help locate pools that might have inadequate fencing or unsafe features and potentially dangerous drains or pumps. Owners are urged to comply voluntarily with commercial safety codes.

“;These are amazing men and women who have joined us as part of the survey team,”; said Stanley Michaels, injury prevention coordinator. “;They are checking all pools they take care of on their own to make sure they don't have any faulty pumps.”;